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mHilliiiiiK iili 


SOLATION 1 By Blessed 
JOHN FISHER, Bp and Martyr 











From a Dimviiig- by Holheiii in tJie fin'tish Museum 


and other Treatifes. By the Bleffed 

Martyr lohn Fijber, B^ of Roche- 

fter. Edited by -D. O'Connor jf>^j^ 

ART & BOOK COMPANY, Paternoster 


Nihil obstat : 

Dns Beda Camm, O.S.B. 

Imprimatar : 

►J^ EDUARDUS Epus Birmingham. 

Die 3g Aprilis, igoj. 


A DESIRE to see Blessed John Fisher better 
known and appreciated as a spiritual writer 
has prompted the publication of these small 
treatises. They present him in a new light, 
and any one familiar with the writings of 
St Francis de Sales will, after perusal of this 
little book, gladly corroborate Canon Mackey's 
statement that, " had Fisher lived in happier 
times, he himself would have been another 
St Francis de Sales."* 

The Spiritual Consolation and Ways to 
Perfect Religion were written during his im- 
prisonment in the Tower, and addressed to 
his sister Elizabeth, a Dominican nun at Dart- 
ford in Kent. 

The exact date on which the Sermon on the 
Passion was preached is uncertain ; it was first 
published in London in 1535, the very year of 
his martyrdom. 

The present edition has a spiritual, not a 

* Cf. Preface to " Letters to Persons in the World " 
by St Francis de Sales, edited by Canon Mackey, 
O.S.B., p. xi. 


critical, object, and, consequently, any neces- 
sary annotation has been kept within narrow 
compass. The spelling and punctuation have 
been modified, and a modern equivalent occa- 
sionally substituted for some quite obsolete 
word. Reference to the Scripture texts has not, 
save in a few cases, been given, as Fisher 
generally quotes from memory. 

Those who desire to make further acquain- 
tance with Blessed John Fisher as an author 
may be referred to the volume of the Early 
English Text Society (Vol. 27, Extra Series, 
1876) The English Works of John Fisher, Bishop 
of Rochester^ Part I, edited with great care by 
Professor E. B. Mayor, of St John's College, 

The beauty of the treatises is their best 
recommendation; they cannot fail to increase 
in the reader an ardent love of God and devo- 
tion to the holy martyr. 

D. O'C. 
Feast of Si Stephen Harding^ 
April jgoj. 



A Spiritual Consolation i 

The Ways to Perfect Religion 19 

A Sermon : Lamentationes, Carmen, et vae ... 59 

IT A fpirituall Confola- 

tion, written by lohn Fyffher, 

JBifboppe of Rochefter, to bgs Sifter 

}BU3abetb, at fucbe tgme as bee waa 

priConec in tbe ^owev of Uonc^on. Der^ 

neceirare, anD commot)ious for all tbofe 

tbat mgntJe to leaDe a vertuous Igfe : 

Blfo to aOmonifb tbem, to be at all 

tfimes prepared to Oge, and eeemetb to \)cc 

fpoken in tbe perfon of one tbat 

wae soDainlg preve* 

teD be Deatb 

2 Corinthians, vj. 

Beholde nov) ij the acceptable tyme 
now is the day of jaluation. 

Mathew, xxiiij. 

Watch therefore , for ye know not what 
hour your Lorde doeth come. 

A Spiritual Consolation 

Written by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, 
to his Sister Elizabeth 

Sister Elizabeth, nothing doth more help effec- 
tually to get a good and a virtuous life than if 
a soul, when it is dull and unlusty without 
devotion, neither disposed to prayer nor to any 
other good work, may be stirred or quickened 
again by fruitful meditation. I have therefore 
devised unto you this meditation that followeth, 
praying you for my sake and for the weal of 
your own soul, to read it at such times as you 
shall feel yourself most heavy and slothful to do 
any good work. It is a manner of lamentation 
and sorrowful complaining made in the person 
of one that was hastily prevented by death (as 
I assure you every creature may be) : none other 
surety we have, living in this world here. 

But if you will have any profit by reading 
of it, three things you must do in anywise. First, 



when you shall read this meditation, devise 
in your mind as nigh as you can all the 
conditions of a man or woman suddenly taken 
and ravished by death; and think with yourself 
that ye were in the same condition so hastily 
taken and that incontinent you must needs die, 
and your soul depart hence and leave your 
mortal body, never to return again for to make 
any amends, or to do any release to your soul 
after this hour. 

Secondly, that ye never read this medita- 
tion but alone by yourself in secret manner, 
where you may be most attentive thereunto, 
and when ye have the best leisure without any 
let of other thoughts or business. For if you 
otherwise behave yourself in the reading of it, 
it shall anon lose the virtue and quickness in 
stirring and moving of your soul when you 
would ratherest have it stirred. 

Thirdly, that when you intend to read it, 
you must afore lift up your mind to Almighty 
God and beseech Him that, by the help and 
succour of His grace, the reading thereof may 
fruitfully work in your soul a good and virtuous 
life according to His pleasure, and say : Veus 
in adjutorium meum intende^ Do?nine ad adju- 
vandtim vie festina. Gloria Fahi, etc. Laus 
tiU Domifie Rex ceternae gloriae. Amen. 


A LAS, alas, I am unworthily taken, all sud- 
denly death hath assailed me, the pains 
of his stroke be so sore and grievous that I 
may not long endure them ; my last hour, I 
perceive well, is come j I must now leave this 
mortal body ; I must now depart hence out 
of this world never to return again into it. But 
whither I shall go, or where I shall become, or 
what lodging I shall have this night, or in 
what company I shall fall, or in what coun- 
try I shall be received, or in what manner 
I shall be treated, God knoweth, for I know 
not. What if I shall be damned in the per- 
petual prison of hell, where be pains endless 
and without number ? Grievous it shall be to 
them that be damned for ever, for they shall 
be as men in most extreme pains of death, 
ever wishing and desiring death, and yet never 
shall they die. It should be now unto me 
much weary, one year continually to lie upon 
a bed were it never so soft; how weary then 
shall it be to lie in the most painful fire so 
many thousands of years without number ; and 
to be in that most horrible company of devils 
most terrible to behold, full of malice and 
cruelty ? 

O wretched and miserable creature that I 
am, I might so have lived and so ordered 


my life by the help and grace of my Lord 
Christ Jesus, that this hour might have been 
unto me much joyous and greatly desired. 
Many blessed and holy saints were full joyous 
and desirous of this hour, for they knew well 
that by death their souls should be translated 
into a new life; to the life of all joy and endless 
pleasure, from the straits and bondage of this 
corruptible body into a very liberty and true 
freedom among the company of heaven, from 
the miseries and grievances of this wretched 
world, to be above with God in comfort ines- 
timable that cannot be spoken nor thought. 
They were assured of the promises of Almighty 
God, which had so promised to all them that 
be His faithful servants ; and sure I am that if 
I had truly and faithfully served Him unto this 
hour, my soul had been partner of these pro- 

But unhappy and ungracious creature that 
I am, I have been negligent in His service, 
and therefore now my heart doth waste in 
sorrows seeing the nighness of death, and con- 
sidering my great sloth and negligence. I 
thought full little thus suddenly to have been 
trapped ; but, alas, now death hath prevented 
me, and hath unwarily attacked me and sud- 
denly oppressed me with his mighty power, so 


that I know not whither I may turn me for 
succour, nor where I may seek now for help, 
nor what thing I may do to get any remedy. 
If I might have leisure and space to repent 
me and amend my life, not compelled with this 
sudden stroke but of my own free will and 
liberty, and partly for the love of God, putting 
aside all sloth and negligence, I might then 
safely die without any dread ; I might then 
be glad to depart hence and leave my manifold 
miseries and encumbrances of this world. But 
how may I think that my repentance or mine 
amendment cometh now of mine own free will, 
since I was before this stroke so cold and dull 
in the service of my Lord God ? Or how may 
I think that I do this more rather for His love 
than for fear of His punishment, when, if I had 
truly loved Him, I should more quickly and 
more diligently have served Him heretofore? 
Me seemeth now that I cast away my sloth and 
negligence, compelled by force. Even as a 
merchant that is compelled by a great tempest 
in the sea to cast his merchandise out of the 
ship, it is not to be supposed that he would 
cast away his riches of his own free will, not 
compelled by the storm. And even so like- 
wise do I : if this tempest of death were not now 
raised upon me, it is full like that I would not 


have cast from me my sloth and negligence. 
O would to God that I might have now some 
farther respite, and some longer time to amend 
myself of my free will and liberty. O if I 
might entreat death to spare me for a season : 
but that will not be; death in no wise will 
be entreated; delay he will none take; res- 
pite he will none give, if I would give him 
all the riches of this world; no, if all my 
lovers and friends would fall upon their knees 
and pray him for me. No, if I and they would 
weep (if it were so possible) as many tears as 
there be in the seas drops of water, no pity may 
restrain him. Alas, when opportunity of time 
was, I would not use it well, which, if I had 
done, it would now be unto me more precious 
than all the treasures of a realm. For then my 
soul as now should have been clothed with 
good works innumerable, the which should 
make me not to be ashamed when I should 
come to the presence of my Lord God, where 
now I shall appear laden with sin miserably, to 
my confusion and shame. But, alas, too negli- 
gently have I let pass from me my time, not 
regarding how precious it was, nor yet how 
much spiritual riches I might have got therein, 
if I would have put my diligence and study 


For assuredly no deed that is, be it 
never so little, but it shall be rewarded of 
Almighty God. One draught of water given for 
the love of God shall not be unrewarded, and 
what is more easy to be given than water? But 
not only deeds, but also the least words and 
thoughts shall be in like wise rewarded. O 
how many good thoughts, deeds, works, might 
one think, speak and do in one day ? But how 
many more in one whole year? O alas, my 
great negligence ! O alas, my foul blindness ! 
O alas, my sinful madness that knew this well, 
and would not put it in eifectual execution ! 

if now all the people of this world were 
present here to see and know the perilous con- 
dition that I am in, and how I am prevented by 
the stroke of death, I would exhort to take me 
as an example to them all, and while they have 
leisure and time, to order their lives and cast 
from them sloth and idleness, and to repent 
them of their misbehaviour towards God, and to 
bewail their offences, to multiply good works 
and to let no time pass by them unfruitfully. 
For if it shall please my Lord God that I might 
any longer live, I would otherwise exercise my- 
self than I have done before. Now I wish that 

1 may have time and space, but righteously I 
am denied, for when I might have had it I 


would not well use it ; and, therefore, now when 
I would well use it, I shall not have it. 

O ye, therefore, that have and may use this 
precious time in your liberty, employ it well, and 
be not too wasteful thereof, lest, peradventure, 
when you would have it, it shall be denied you 
likewise, as now it is to me. But now I repent me 
full sore of my great negligence, and right much 
I sorrow that so little I regarded the wealth and 
profit of my soul, but rather took heed to the 
vain comforts and pleasures of my wretched 
body. O corruptible body ! O stinking car- 
rion ! O rotten earth, to whom I have served, 
whose appetites I have followed, whose desire I 
have procured, now dost thou appear what thou 
art in thy own likeness ! That brightness of 
thy eyes, that quickness in hearing, that liveli- 
ness in thy other senses by natural warmness, 
thy swiftness and nimbleness, thy fairness and 
beauty ; all these thou hast not of thyself, they 
were but lent unto thee for a season, even as a 
wall of earth that is fair painted without for a 
season with fresh and goodly colours, and also 
gilded with gold, it appeareth goodly for the 
time to such as consider no deeper than the 
outward craft thereof; but when at the last the 
colour faileth and the gilding falleth away, then 
appeareth it in his own likeness ; for then the 


earth plainly showeth itself. In like wise my 
wretched body, for the time of youth it appear- 
eth fresh and lusty, and I was deceived with the 
outward beauty thereof, little considering what 
naughtiness was covered underneath ; but now 
it showeth itself. 

Now my wretched body, thy beauty is 
faded, thy fairness is gone, thy lust, thy 
strength, thy loveliness all is gone, all is 
failed; now art thou returned to thine own 
earthly colour ; now art thou black, cold and 
heavy, like a lump of earth ; thy sight is dark- 
ened, thy hearing is dulled, thy tongue faltereth 
in thy mouth, and corruption issueth out of 
every part of thee; corruption was thy begin- 
ning in the womb of thy mother, and corruption 
is thy continuance. All things that ever thou 
receivest, were it never so precious, thou turnest 
into corruption ; and naught came from thee at 
any time but corruption, and now to corruption 
thyself returnest : altogether right vile and 
loathly art thou become, where in appearance 
before thou wast goodly: but the good lines was 
nothing else but as a painting or a gilding upon 
an earthen wall ; under it was covered with 
stinking and filthy matter. But I looked not so 
deep, I contented myself with the outward 
painting, and in that I took great pleasure ; for 


all my study and care was about thee, either to 
apparel thee with some clothes of divers colours, 
either to satisfy thy desire in pleasant sights, in 
delectable hearings, in goodly smells, in sundry 
manner of tastings and touchings, either else to 
get thee ease and rest as well in sleep as other- 
wise. And I provided, therefore, pleasant and 
delectable lodgings, and to eschew tediousness 
in all these, not only lodgings, but also in 
apparel, meats and drinks procured many and 
divers changes, that when thou wast weary of 
one then mightest thou content thyself with 
some other. Oh, alas, this was my vain and 
naughty study whereunto my wit was ready 
applied, in those things I spent the most part of 
my days. And yet was I never content long, 
but murmuring or grudging every hour for one 
thing or other. 

And what am I now the better for all 
this? What reward may I look for of all 
my long service ? or what great benefits shall I 
receive for all my great study, care and dili- 
gence ? Nothing better am I, but much 
the worse ; much corruption and filth my 
soul thereby hath gathered, so that now 
it is made full horrible and loathly to behold, 
-Reward get I none other than punishment, 
either in hell everlasting or at the least in 


purgatory, if I may so easily escape. The 
benefits of my labour are the great cares and 
sorrows which I now am wrapped in. May 
not I think my wit to have been well occupied 
in this lewd * and unfruitful business ? Have 
I not well bestowed my labour about this ser- 
vice of my wretched body ? Hath not my time 
been well employed in these miserable studies, 
whereof now no comfort remaineth, but only 
sorrow and repentance ? Alas, I heard full often 
that such as should be damned should grievously 
repent themselves and take more displeasure of 
their misbehaviour than ever they had pleasure 
before. And yet that repentance then should 
stand them in no stead, where a full little re- 
pentance taken in time might have eased them 
of all their pains. 

This I heard and read full often, but full 
little heed or regard I gave thereunto ; I well 
perceived it in myself, but all too late, I dread 
me. I would that now, by the example of me, 
all others might beware, and avoid by the 
gracious help of God these dangers that I now 
am in, and prepare themselves against the hour 
of death better than I have prepared me. 
Alas, what availeth me now any delicacy of 

* Light or frivolous. 


meats and drinks which my wretched body 
insatiable did devour? What availeth my 
vanity or pride that I had in myself either of 
apparel or of any other thing belonging unto me ? 
What availeth the filthy and unclean delights 
and lusts of the stinking flesh, wherein was 
appearance of much pleasure, but in very deed 
none other than the sow hath, waltering * her- 
self in the miry puddle ? Now these pleasures 
be gone, my body is nothing better, my soul 
is much the worse, and nothing remaineth but 
sorrow and displeasure, and that a thousandfold 
more than ever I had any pleasure before. 

O lewd body and naughty, which hast brought 
me to this utter discomfort ; O dirty corruption ; 

sachell f full of dung, now must I go to 
make answer for thy lewdness ; thy lewdness, 

1 say, for it all cometh of thee. My soul had 
nothing need of such things as was thy desire : 
what need my soul that is immortal, either 
clothing, or meat or drink? What need it any 
corruptible gold and silver ? What need it any 
houses or beds, or any other things that ap- 
pertaineth to these ? For thee, O corruptible 
body, which like a rotten wall daily needeth 
reparations and botching up with meat and 

* Wallowing. + Satchel or sack. 


drink, and defence of clothing against cold and 
heat, was all this study and diligence taken, and 
yet now wilt thou forsake me at my most need, 
when account and reckoning of all our mis- 
deeds must be given before the throne of the 
Judge most terrible. Now thou wilt refuse 
me and leave me to the jeopardy of all this 

O alas, many years of deliberation suffice 
not before so great a Judge to make an- 
swer, which* shall examine me of every idle 
word that ever passed my mouth. O then how 
many idle words, how many evil thoughts, how 
many deeds have I to make answer for ! and 
such as we set but at light, full greatly shall 
be weighed in the presence of His most high 
Majesty. O alas, what may I do to get some 
help at this most dangerous hour ? Where may 
I seek for succour ? Where may I resort for 
any comfort ? My body forsaketh me, my 
pleasures be vanished away as the smoke, my 
goods will not go with me. All these worldly 
things I must leave behind me ; if any comfort 
shall be, either it must be in the prayers of my 
friends, or in mine own good deeds that I have 
done before. 

* Who. 


But as for my good deeds that should 
be available in the sight of God, alas, they 
be few or none that I can think to be 
available; they must be done principally and 
purely for His love. But my deeds, when of 
their kind they were good, yet did I linger 
them by my folly ; for either I did them for the 
pleasure of men, or to avoid the shame of the 
world, or else for my own affection, or else for 
dread of punishment ; so that seldom I did any 
good deed in that purity and straightness that it 
ought of right to have been done. And my 
misdeeds, my lewd deeds that be shameful and 
abominable, be without number ; not one day of 
all my life, no, not one hour I trow was so truly 
expended to the pleasure of God, but many deeds, 
words and thoughts miscaped me in my life. Alas, 
little trust then may I have upon my deeds ! 

And as for the prayers of my friends 
such as I shall leave behind me, of them many 
peradventure be in the same need that I am in; 
so that where their own prayers might profit 
themselves, they cannot so profit another. And 
many of them will be full negligent, and some 
forgetful of me, and no marvel : for who should 
have been so friendly unto me than mine own 
self? Therefore I that was most bound to have 
done for myself, forget my own weal in my life- 


time ; no marvel therefore if others do forget me 
after my departing hence. Other friends there 
be by whose prayers souls may be helped, as by 
the blessed and holy saints above in heaven, 
which verily will be mindful of such as in earth 
here have devoutly honoured them before. But, 
alas, I had special devotion but to a few, and 
yet them I have so faintly honoured, and to 
them so coldly sued for favour, that I am 
ashamed to ask aid or help of them. At this 
time indeed I had more effectually meant to 
have honoured them and more diligently to 
have commended my wretched soul unto their 
prayers, and so to have made them my special 
friends; but now death hath prevented me so, that 
no other hope remaineth, but only in the mercy of 
my Lord God, to whose mercy I do now offer 
myself, beseeching Him not to look upon my 
deserts, but upon His infinite goodness and 
abundant pity. 

Alas, my duty had been much better 
to have remembered this terrible hour ; I 
should have had this danger ever before my 
eyes ; I should have provided, therefore, so that 
now I might have been in a more readiness 
against the coming of death, which I knew 
assuredly would come at the last, albeit I knew 
not when, where, or by what manner ; but well 


I knew every hour and moment was to him in- 
different, and in his Uberty. And yet (my mad- 
ness ever to be sorrowed), notwithstanding this 
certainty of his coming, and the uncertainty of 
the time thereof, I made no certain nor sure 
provision against this hour. Full often I took 
great study and care to provide for little dangers, 
only because I thought they might hap, and yet 
happed they never a deal ; and but trifles they 
were in comparison of this. How much rather 
should I have taken study and care for this so 
great a danger which I knew well must neces- 
sarily fall unto me once. For this cannot be 
eschewed in no wise, and upon this I ought to 
have made good provision ; for in this hangeth 
all our wealth. For if a man die well, he shall 
after his death nothing want that he would de- 
sire, but his appetite shall be satiate in every 
point at the full ; and if he die amiss, no pro- 
vision shall avail him that ever he made before. 
This provision, therefore, is most effectually 
to be studied, since this alone may profit without 
other, and without this none can avail. O ye 
that have time and space to make your pro- 
vision against the hour of death, defer not from 
day to day as I have done. For I often did 
think and purpose with myself that at some 
leisure I would have provided; nevertheless, for 


every trifling business I put it aside, and de- 
layed this provision always to another time, and 
promised with myself that at such a time 1 
would not fail to do it; but when that came 
another business arose, and so I deferred it 
again unto another time. And so, alas, from 
time to time, that now death in the meantime 
hath prevented me. My purpose was good, but 
it lacked execution ; my will was straight, but it 
was not effectual ; my mind well intended, but 
no fruit came thereof. All for because I delayed 
so often and never put in effect that that I had 
purposed; and, therefore, delay it not as I have 
done, but before all other business put this first 
in surety, which ought to be chief and principal 
business. Neither building of colleges, nor 
making of sermons, nor giving of alms, neither 
yet any other manner of business shall help you 
without this. 

Therefore, first and before all things, pre- 
pare for this ; delay not in any wise, for if you 
do you shall be deceived as I am now. I read 
of many, I have heard of many, I have known 
many that were disappointed as I am now. 
And ever I thought and said and intended that 
I would make sure and not be deceived by the 
sudden coming of death ; yet, nevertheless, I 
am now deceived, and am taken sleeping, 


unprepared, and that when I least weened 
of his coming, and even when I reckoned my- 
self to be in most health, and when I was most 
busy and in the midst of my matters. There- 
fore, delay not you any farther, nor put your 
trust overmuch in your friends ; trust yourself 
while ye have space and liberty, and do for 
yourself now while you may. I would advise 
you to do that thing that I, by the grace of my 
Lord God, would put in execution if His 
pleasure were to send me longer life. Account 
yourself as dead, and think that your souls 
were in prison of purgatory, and that there 
they must abide till that the ransom for them be 
truly paid, either by long sufferance of pain 
there, or else by suffrages done here in earth by 
some of your special friends. Be you your own 
friend ; do you these suffrages for your own soul, 
whether they be prayers or almsdeeds or any 
other penitential painfulness. If you will not 
effectually and heartily do these things for your 
own soul, look you never that others will do 
them for you, and in doing them in your own 
persons, they shall be more available to you a 
thousandfold than if they were done by any 
other. If you follow this counsel and do there- 
after, you be gracious and blessed, you shall 
doubtless repent your follies, but too late. 

The Ways to Perfect Religion 

Made by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, 
being Prisoner in the Tower of London 

Sister Elizabeth, gladly I would write unto 
you something that might be to the health of 
your soul and furtherance of it in holy religion. 
But well I know that without some fervour in 
the love of Christ, religion cannot be to you 
savoury, nor any work of goodness can be 
delectable, but every virtuous deed shall seem 
laborious and painful. For love maketh every 
work appear easy and pleasant, though it be 
right displeasant of itself. And contrariwise 
right easy labour appeareth grievous and pain- 
ful, when the soul of the person that doeth the 
deed hath no desire nor love in doing of it. 
This thing may well appear by the life of 
hunters, the which out of doubt is more labo- 
rious and painful than is the life of religious 
persons, and yet nothing sustaineth them in 


their labour and pains but the earnest love and 
hearty desire to find their game. Regard no 
less my writing, good sister, though to my pur- 
pose I use the example of hunters, for all true 
Christian souls be called hunters, and their 
office and duty is to seek and hunt for to find 
Christ Jesu. And, therefore. Scripture in 
many places exhorteth us to seek after Him, 
and assureth that He will be found of them 
that diligently seek after Him — Invenieiur ab 
his qui quaerunt eum. That is to say. He will 
be found of them that seek Him ; well happy 
are all those that can find Him, or can have 
any scent of Him in this life here. For that 
scent, as St Paul saith, is the scent of the very 
life. And the devout souls, where they feel 
this scent, they run after Him apace — Ciirre- 
mus in odorem unguentorutn tuorutn. That is to 
say, we shall run after the scent of Thy sweet 
ointments. Seeing then all devout souls may 
be called hunters, I will further prosecute the 
comparison made before between the life of the 
hunters and the life of the religious persons 
after this manner. 


A Comparison between the Life of Hunters 
and the Life of Religious Persons 

What life is more painful and laborious of 
itself than is the life of hunters, which most 
early in the morning break their sleep and rise 
when others do take their rest and ease ? And 
in his labour he may use no plain highways and 
the soft grass, but he must tread upon the 
fallows, run over the hedges and creep through 
the thick bushes, and cry all the long day upon 
his dogs, and so continue without meat or drink 
until the very night drive him home. These 
labours be unto him pleasant and joyous, for 
the desire and love that he hath to see the poor 
hare chased with dogs. 

Verily, verily, if he were compelled to take 
upon him such labours, and not for this cause, 
he would soon be weary of them, thinking them 
full tedious unto him ; neither would he rise 
out of his bed so soon, nor fast so long, nor 
endure these other labours, unless he had a very 
love therein. For the earnest desire of his 
mind is so fixed upon his game that all these 
pains be thought to him but very pleasures. 
And therefore I may well say that love is the 


principal thing that maketh any work easy, 
though the work be right painful of itself, and 
that without love no labour can be comfortable 
to the doer. The love of his game delighteth 
him so much that he careth for no worldly 
honour, but is content with full simple and 
homely array. Also the goods of the world he 
seeketh not for, nor studieth how to attain 
them ; for the love and desire of his game 
so greatly occupieth his mind and heart. The 
pleasures also of his flesh he forgetteth by 
weariness and wasting of his body in earnest 
labour. All his mind, all his soul, is busied to 
know where the poor hare may be found. Of 
that is his thought, and of that is his commu- 
nication, and all his delight is to hear and 
speak of that matter, every other matter but 
this is tedious for him to give ear unto ; in all 
other things he is dull and unlusty, in this only 
quick and stirring; for this also to be done, 
there is no office so humble, nor so vile, that 
he refuseth not to serve his own dogs himself, 
to bathe their feet and to anoint them where 
they be sore, yea, and to cleanse their stinking 
kennel, where they shall lie and rest them. 
Surely if religious persons had so earnest a 
mind and desire to the service of Christ as 
have these hunters to see a course at a hare, 


their life should be unto them a very joy and 

For what other be the pains of religion 
but these that I liave spoken of? That is 
to say, much fasting, crying and coming to 
the choir, forsaking of worldly honours, worldly 
riches, fleshly pleasures and communication 
of the world, humble service and obedience to 
her sovereign,* and charitable dealing to her 
sister ; which pains in every point the hunter 
taketh and sustaineth more largely for the love 
that he hath to his game, than doeth many 
a religious person for the love of Christ. For 
albeit the religious person riseth at midnight, 
which is painful to her in very deed, yet she 
went before that to her bed at a convenient 
hour, and also cometh after to her bed again. 
But the hunter riseth early, and so continueth 
forth all the long day, no more returning to his 
bed until the very night, and yet peradventure 
he was late up the night before, and full 
often up all the long nights. And though the 
religious woman fast until it be noon, the 
which must be to her painful, the hunter yet 
taketh more pain, which fasteth until the very 
night, forgetting both meat and drink for the 

* i.e., religious superior. 


pleasure of his game. The religious woman 
singeth all the forenoon in the choir, and that 
also is laborious unto her, but yet the hunter 
singeth not, but he crieth, hallooeth and 
shouteth all the long day and hath more 
greater pains. The religious woman taketh 
much labour in coming to the choir and sitting 
there so long a season, but yet no doubt of it 
more labour taketh the hunter in running over 
the fallow, and leaping over the hedges, and 
creeping through the bushes than that can be. 
And would to God that in other things, that is to 
say, touching worldly honours, worldly riches, 
worldly pleasures — would to God that the re- 
ligious persons many of them might profit as 
much in mindfulness in seeking of Christ, as 
the hunter doeth in seeking of his game, and 
yet all their comfort were to commune and 
speak of Christ, as the hunters have all their 
joy to speak of the poor hare, and of their 

And furthermore, would to God the reli- 
gious persons would content themselves with 
the humble service done to their sovereign, 
and with charitable behaviour unto their sisters, 
and with as good a heart and mind as the 
hunters acquit them to serve their hounds. I 
wot it is a thing much more reasonable to love 


and serve reasonable creatures made to the 
image of Almighty God, rather than to love 
and serve dogs which be unreasonable crea- 
tures. And rather our duty were to speak of 
Christ, and of things belonging to His honour, 
than of the vain worldly matters which be but 
very trifles indeed. And also with more atten- 
tive mind we should seek after our Saviour 
Christ Jesu, to know our very comfort in Him 
— wherein resteth the great merit of our souls — 
than the hunters should seek after the hare, 
which when they have gotten they have no 
great gains thereby. But as I have said, the 
cause why so many religious persons so dili- 
gently pursue not the ways of religion as do the 
hunters, is the want of the observation of their 
game, which is nothing else but the lack of 
love. For verily, as I think, the earnest love 
and hearty desire of game maketh all labours 
and pains joyous unto the hunter. And if 
there v/ere in religious persons as great favour 
and love to the service of God, as be in hunters 
to their game, all their life should be a very 
paradise and heavenly joy in this world. And 
contrariwise without this fervour of love it can- 
not be but painful, weary and tedious to them. 
My purpose therefore, dear sister, is to 
minister unto you some common considera- 


tions which if you will often resort unto by 
due remembrance and so by diligent prayer 
call upon Almighty God for His love, you 
shall now by His grace attain it. 

The First Consideration 
The first consideration may be this : First con- 
sider by your own mind and reason that Al- 
mighty God of His own singular goodness and 
free will did create you and make you of 
naught, whereunto He was not bound by any 
necessity, nor drawn by any commodity that 
might rise upon Him by your creation. No 
other thing moved Him but His very goodness 
and special favour that He bare unto you, long 
or ever He did make you. This, good sister, 
take for a very truth and firmly believe it, for 
so it is in very deed ; innumerable creatures, 
more than ever were made or ever shall be 
made, He might have made if it had been so 
pleasing unto Him. For how many, suppose 
you, married men and married women have 
been and shall be hereafter in this world, that 
never had nor never shall have any children, 
yet they full gladly would have had, and by 
possibility of natnr.- might have had many, if it 
had so pleased A' mighty God to have made 
and to have given unto them children. But all 


those be left unmade, and amongst them He 
might have left you also unmade, and never 
have put His hand to the making of you if 
He had so would. Nevertheless, as I said, 
it pleased His goodness herein to prefer you 
of His special favour that He bore unto 
you, leaving unmade others more innumerable, 
electing you and appointing you to be made, 
refusing and setting apart all them which 
would, peradventure, have considered His 
special grace and favour more lovingly than 
you hitherto have done, and would have 
studied more for His pleasure and service than 
ever you did ; and you occupy the room and 
place that some of them might have occupied 
by like favour as Almighty God hath shewed 
unto you. Ah, dear sister, how much should 
this one consideration move you to the earnest 
love of this our so gracious a Lord, that thus 
hath appointed and chosen you to be His 
creature before so many others, where He 
might have taken any of them at His pleasure 
and repelled you and left you as naught with- 
out any manner of being! 

The Second Consideration 
The second consideration is this : Where there 
is many manner of beings, some creatures 


have a goodly being, some have an ungoodly 
being. It is a more goodly being margarite * 
of a precious stone than of a pebble stone ; of 
the fair bright gold than of rusty iron ; of a 
goodly pheasant than of a venomous serpent ; 
of a pretty fawn than of a foul toad ; of a rea- 
sonable soul than of an unreasonable beast. 
And it is not to be doubted but Almighty God 
might have given to any of them what being so- 
ever He would, and might have transformed 
each of those into the nature and kind of any 
of the other at His pleasure and will. For of 
the stones He might make men, as in the 
Gospel our Saviour doth affirm : Potens est Deus 
de lapidibus istis suscitare filios JbrahcB, Al- 
mighty God hath the power to make of these 
stones the children of Abraham. And contrari- 
wise He might of men have made stones, as the 
wife of Lot was turned into a salt stone. And 
in like wise me or you or any other man or 
woman, He might have made a stone, or a 
serpent, or a toad, for His pleasure. There is 
no creature so foul, so horrible, or so ungodly, 
but He might put you in the same condition 
that the most loathly of them be put in, and 
them, in contrariwise, He might have put in 
the same condition that you be in. Consider 

* i.e., a pearl. 


now, by your reason, that if you had been 
made in the hkeness of an owl, or of an ape, or 
of a toad, how deformed you should have been, 
and in how wretched and miserable condition. 
And thank your Lord God that hath given you 
a more excellent nature, yea, such a nature as 
excelleth in nobleness, in dignity, all other 
bodily natures ; for it is made to the very like- 
ness and image of Almighty God, whereunto 
none other bodily creature doth reach near. 
Metals nor stones, be they never so precious, 
neither herbs nor trees, neither fishes nor fowls, 
neither any manner of beast, be they never so 
noble in their kind, doth attain to this high 
point of nobleness to have in them the image 
and likeness of Almighty God, but only man. 
Forasmuch then as our Lord God might have 
given this excellent dignity to other innumerable 
creatures, as to beasts, to fowls, to fishes, to- 
trees, to herbs, to metals, to stones, and hath 
not so done, but before all those hath elected 
and chosen you to bear His image and likeness 
and to be endued with a reasonable soul, how 
much should his loving dealing move you to 
enforce yourself with all the strength and power 
of your heart and mind to love Him therefore 


The Third Consideration 
The third consideration is this : That whereas, 
notwithstanding this great and excellent gift, 
you, nevertheless, by reason of original sin 
wherewith you were born of your mother into 
this world, had lost the great inheritance above 
in heaven and purchased everlasting imprison- 
ment in hell, He of His great and singular 
goodness had provided you to be born within 
the precincts of Christendom, where you have 
been instructed in the doctrine of His taith and 
received the holy Sacrament of Baptism, and 
have been made a Christian woman, whereby 
you did receive again your inheritance before 
lost, and have escaped the most horrible danger 
of everlasting damnation. How many, sup- 
pose you, in all the world that be not instructed 
in this law and faith of Christ, nor have not re- 
ceived the holy Sacrament of Baptism, both 
noble men and women, both knights and 
princes, which have great wisdom and reason, 
and many such as, peradventure, if they were 
taught it, would more readily apply their minds 
to Christ's faith than you do, and more heartily 
serve Him, honour and love Him than ever you 
■did ; and yet, lo ! thus graciously hath He 


provided for you before all them, and hath ap- 
pointed you to be a Christian woman and to be 
partaker of all those graces and benefits that 
belong unto the Christian people, which be so 
many and so great, that it passeth the wits of 
men, not only to number but also to think. 

And here, good sister, do deeply consider in 
your soul how much this loving preferment of 
our Lord God should stir you to love Him 
again, when He suffereth so innumerable a 
multitude of men and women to perish and to 
be lost for ever, amongst whom many do pass 
you in all natural virtues, both of body and 
soul, and also would farther pass you in profit- 
ing in the law of Christ if they were received 
thereunto; and yet, I say, He suffereth them to 
perish everlastingly and perpetually to be 
damned ; and for your safeguard hath provided 
of His singular goodness and mercy towards 
you, for the which since it is not possible of 
your part to recompense, why shall you not 
with all your power enforce yourself to love 
His most gracious goodness again, and after 
your possibility to give unto Him most humble 
thanks therefor ? 


The Fourth Consideration 
The fourth consideration is this : That where, 
since that time of your Baptism and that you 
were made a Christian woman, you have many 
times unkindly fallen into deadly sin and 
broken His laws and commandments, setting at 
naught all those benefits which He before had 
given to you, following your wretched pleasure 
to the great displeasure and contempt of His 
Most High Majesty ; and yet He furthermore 
did not strike you, nor yet revenge Himself 
upon you rigorously, punishing the trans- 
gressors and breakers of His law as He might 
and should by His righteousness have done. 
But, contrariwise, He did long spare you by 
His excellent mercy, and mercifully He did 
abide your return to Him again by sorrowful 
repentance and asking of Him mercy for your 
abominable offences. And where you so did 
with good hearty mind at any time, He received 
you to His grace, and by the sacrament of 
penance you were taken into His favour again, 
and so yet escape the horrible pains of hell due 
for your outrageous unkindness. No reason 
may judge the contrary but that you of good 
right have deserved them for your foul pre* 


sumption in breaking of the laws of your Lord 
God, and preferring your wretched appetites be- 
fore His pleasure, and following your own wilful 
desires before His most high commandments. 
Alas, what miserable condition should you now 
have been in if He so incontinent after your 
offences had stricken you by death and had 
sent you to the horrible pains of hell, where 
you should not only for a time have bidden, 
but for ever and without all remedy. No 
prayers of your friends, no almsdeeds, no such 
other good works should have relieved you. 

Ah, sister, imprint deeply in your soul this 
inestimable mercy of your Lord God showed 
unto you through His most gracious and merci- 
ful abiding for your return to Him by true re- 
pentance and asking of His mercy. For innu- 
merable souls of men and women, for less 
offences than you have done, lie now in the 
prison of hell, and shall there continue without 
end ; which if they might have had as great 
sufferance as you have had, and so long leisure 
to repent them, they would have taken more 
sorrowful repentance than ever you took, and 
do now more sorrowfully repent than ever you 
did, but that as now cannot profit them, for 
that sorrow and repentance is now too late. 
But to my purpose, how may you think that 


this loving sufferance and gracious abiding of 
your amendment and merciful accepting of 
your sorrows and repentance for your great 
sins, Cometh not of a singular love showed 
unto you by your Lord God before all them ? 
And shall not this consideration pierce your 
heart and move you much to love Him again ? 

The Fifth Consideration 
The fifth consideration is this : Peradventure, 
after that thus by your repentance and asking 
mercy you were taken to this grace of your 
God, yet far more grievously and far more un- 
kindly you fell again to sin, and kept not the 
purpose and promise that before you did make, 
but more without shame and dread of His high- 
ness took your liberty in your sinful ways, 
abusing His gentleness and presuming upon 
His mercy, not regarding any benefit or kind- 
ness showed by His most excellent goodness 
unto you before, so defiling your soul by innu- 
merable ways, and making it filthy and more 
ungoodly than is the sow that waltereth herself 
in the foul miry puddle, and more pestilently 
stinketh in the sight of God than is the stink- 
ing carrion of a dead dog being rotten and lying 
in a ditch ; yet, nevertheless, for all these mis- 
behaviours, your Lord God of His far-passing 


goodness hath called you again from your sin- 
ful life and hath graciously stirred your soul to 
forsake your sin and to leave this wretched 
world and to enter the holy religion. Whereby 
(after the sentence of holy doctors) your soul is 
made as clean as it was at your baptism and 
restored again to the purity and cleanliness of 
your first innocence; and not only that, but 
also He hath appointed you to be of the 
number of them that He assigned for His best 
beloved spouses. And what high point of 
singular favour is this? How many women, 
far better than you, be left behind in this world, 
not called to this high dignity nor admitted to 
this most special grace? When the noble 
King Asuerus, as it is written in the Scripture, 
commanded many fair maidens to be chosen 
out and to be seen unto with all things that 
might make them fair and beautiful and pleasant 
to his sight, to the intent that they at all times 
when it should like him to appoint any of them 
to come to his presence and to be his spouse, 
they might be the more ready, this thing, no 
doubt of it, was to them that were thus chosen 
a comfort, that they were preferred before 
others, and also every one of them might live in 
hope to come to the king's presence and have 
some likelihood to be accepted for his spouse, 


in SO much that all others but they were excluded. 
In like manner it is with religious women. 
All they, by the gracious calling of the great 
King of heaven, be gathered into God's religion 
and dissevered from the other secular women 
that be of the world, there a season to abide 
until they be sufficiently prepared by the holy 
sacraments and the holy observations of religion 
to come to His gracious Highness's presence, 
and to be brought into His secret chamber 
above in heaven, there to abide with Him in 
endless joy and bliss. Blessed is that religious 
woman that so doth prepare herself for this 
little time that here she shall tarry by prayer, by 
meditation, by contemplation, by tears of devo- 
tion, by hearty love and burning desire, that 
after that this transitory lite she may be ad- 
mitted to the most excellent honour, and not 
with shame and rebuke be repelled therefrom 
when the day shall come. 

The Sixth Consideration 

The sixth consideration that you call well to 
your remembrance, who it is that doth thus ex- 
hort you for to love, verily He is that person 
that if either you will freely give your love, or 
else sell your love, He is most worthy to have 


it above all other. First, if ye were of that 
mind to give your love free, it were good yet 
there to bestow it that you should choose such 
a one, as both in goodliness of person, as also 
in prowess and wisdom, and good gentle man- 
ners may be worthy of your love. For if there 
be any deformity in him whom you would love, 
it is an impediment and great let for to love 
him ; but in our Saviour Christ the Son of God 
is no deformity, for He is all goodly, and sur- 
mounteth all other in goodliness ; and, there- 
fore, of Him the prophet David affirmeth in 
this manner : Speciosus fonna prcefiliis hoininuniy 
that is to say, **He is goodly before the children 
of men." And of truth much goodly must He 
needs be that hath so many goodly creatures. 
Behold the rose, the lily, the violet; behold 
the peacocks, the pheasant, the popinjay ; be- 
hold all the other creatures of this world — all 
these were of His making, all their beauty 
and goodliness of Him they received it. 
Wherefore this goodliness describeth that He 
Himself must needs of necessity be very goodly 
and beautiful. And for that in the book of Can- 
ticles the Spouse describeth His goodliness, 
saying : Dilectus mens Candidas et ruhicunduSy 
electus ex millibus^ that is to say : " He that I 
love is white and red, chosen out amongst 


thousands." And this beauty and goodliness 
is not mortal, it cannot fade nor perish as doeth 
the goodliness of other men, which like a flower 
to-day is fresh and lusty, and to-morrow with 
a little sickness is withered and vanisheth away. 
And yet it is sensible to the goodliness of man's 
nature, for the which also he is more naturally 
to be beloved of many. For likeness is the 
ground of love, like always doth covet like, and 
the nearer in likeness that any person be, the 
sooner they may be knit together in love. The 
same likeness He hath and you have, like 
body and like soul, touching His manhood ; 
your soul is also like unto Him in His Godhead, 
for after the image and similitude of it your 
soul is made. Furthermore of His might and 
power you may be likewise a certain season. 
He made this world by the only commandment 
of His mouth, and gave to the herbs and all 
other creatures their virtue and might that they 
have ; and may also by His power save and 
damn creatures, either to lift them up in body 
and soul into heaven above, or else to throw 
them down into ever-during pains of hell. If ye 
doubt of His wisdom, behold all this world, and 
consider how every creature is set with another, 
and every of them by himself, how the heavens 
are apparelled with stars, the air with fowls, the 


water with fishes, the earth with herbs, trees and 
beasts, how the stars be clad with Hght, the fowls 
with feathers, the fishes with scales, the beasts 
with hair, herbs and trees with leaves, and flowers 
with scent, wherein doth well appear a great and 
marvellous wisdom of Him that made them. Fi- 
nally His good and gentle manner is all full of 
pleasure and comfort so kind, so friendly, so 
liberal and beneficious, so piteous and merciful, 
so ready in all opportunities, so mindful and 
circumspect, so dulcet and sweet in communi- 
cation. For as Scripture saith : Non hahet 
aniaritudi7iem conversatio vel taediujti convictus 
illius^ sed laetitiam et gaudium, that is to say : 
" His manners be so sweet and pleasant that 
the conversation of Him hath no bitterness ; 
yea, His company hath no loathsomeness nor 
weariness in it, but all gladness and joy." Here 
peradventure you will say unto me, how may I 
love that I see not? if I might see Him with all 
the conditions ye speak of, I could with all my 
heart love Him. Ah ! good sister, that time is 
not come yet ; you must, as I said, now for the 
time prepare yourself in cleanness of body and 
soul, against that time ; so when that time 
Cometh you may be able and worthy to see Him, 
or else you shall be excluded from Him with the 
unwise virgins, of whom the Gospel telleth that 


they were shut out from His presence with 
great shame and confusion, because they had 
not sufficiently prepared themselves. Therefore, 
good sister, for this time be not negligent to 
prepare yourself with all good works, that then 
you may be admitted to come unto His presence, 
from the which to be excluded it shall be a 
more grievous pain than any pain of hell. For, 
as Chrysostom saith : * Si decein mille gehemias 
quis dixerit, nihil tale est quale ab ilia beata visione 
excidere, that is to say : " If one would rehearse 
unto me ten thousand hells, yet all that should 
not be so great pains as it is to be excluded 
from the blessed sight of the face of Christ." 

The Seventh Consideration 
The seventh consideration is this : where now 
it appeareth unto you, that if you will give your 
love freely, there is none so worthy to have it 
as Jesus the Son of the Virgin Mary. I will 
further shew unto you that if you will not freely 
give it, but you will look peradventure to 
have something again, yet there is none so 
well worthy to have it as He is; for if another 
will give more for it than He, I will not be 
against it ; take your advantage. But sure I 

*S. Chrys. in ep. Philipp, c.4, horn. 13 4, p. 302bc. 


am there is none other to whom your love 
is so dear, and of so great a price as it is unto 
Him, nor any that will come nigh unto that 
that He hath given or will give. If His bene- 
fits and kindness shewed towards you, whereof 
I spake somewhat before, were by you well 
pondered, they be no small benefits, and es- 
pecially the love of so great a prince, and that 
He would thus love you, and prefer you 
before so many innumerable creatures of His, 
and that when there was in you no love, and 
when you could not skill of love ; yea, and that, 
that more is, when you were enemy unto Him, 
yet He loved you, and so wonderfully that for 
your love, and to wash you from sin, and to 
deliver your soul from the extreme peril, He 
shed His most precious blood, and suffered 
the most shameful, the most cruel and the most 
painful death of the cross ; His head to be 
pierced with thorns. His hands and feet to be 
through holed with nails, His side to be lanced 
with a spear, and all His most tender body to 
be torn and rent with whips and scourges. 
Believe this for a very truth, good sister, that 
for your sake He suffered all, as if there had 
been no more in all the world but only yourself, 
which I will declare more largely unto you in 
the next consideration following. 


Believe it in the meantime certainly, for so 
it is indeed, and if you believe it not, you do a 
great injury and shew a full unkindness unto 
Him that thus much hath done for you. 

And if this belief truly settle in your heart, 
it is to me a marvel if you can content your 
heart without the love of Him, of Him, I say, 
that thus dearly hath loved you, and doth love 
you still. For what other lover will do thus 
much for your love ? What creature in all the 
world will die for your sake ? What one person 
will part with one drop of his heart blood 
for your sake ? When then the Son of God, 
the Prince of heaven, the Lord of Angels, hath 
done this for your sake, which thing no other 
creature will do, what frost could have congeal- 
ed your heart that it may not relent against 
so great an heat of love ? If He, so excellent 
in all nobleness, should have given you but 
one favourable countenance from the heavens 
above, it had been a more precious benefit than 
ever you could recompense by your love again. 
It were impossible for your love to recompense 
that one thing. But how much rather when He 
hath descended into this wretched world for 
your sake, and here hath become man, and 
hath endured all misery pertaining unto man, 
save only sin and ignorance, and finally hath 


suffered this great horrible death for your love, 
how shall you ever now recompense this by any 
love or service to be done for your pity ? And 
He hath not only done all this for your sake, 
but also hath prepared for you after this transi- 
tory life a reward above in heaven, so great 
that never mortal eye saw the like, nor any 
tongue can express, nor yet any heart can 
think. Ah, sister, when your wretched soul 
shall hence depart, which cannot be very long 
here, who shall give you refreshing the space of 
one hour ? Good therefore it is that you look 
unto yourself and upon Him bestow your love, 
the which hitherto hath done most for you 
and best hath deserved it beyond all other; and 
yet after this life He will give for it a reward so 
inestimable that it shall never fail you. 

The Eighth Consideration 
The eighth consideration is this : that albeit, 
there are many others which also are beloved 
of Christ Jesu, yet the love that He sheweth to 
them, nothing minisheth His love towards you, 
as if there were no more beloved of Him in all 
the kind of man. This may evidently be 
shewed unto you by this example following. If 
before any image of our Saviour were disposed 
and set in a long row many glasses, some great 


and some little, some high and some low, a 
convenient distance from the image, so that 
every one of them might receive a present- 
ment of the image, it is no doubt but in 
every one of these glasses should appear the 
very likeness of the same image. I will not 
say but this likeness should be longer in the 
great glasses than in the less, and clearer in the 
better cleansed glasses, and in them that were 
nigh unto the image, than in the others that 
were not so well cleansed and much farther off. 
But as to the likeness itself it shall be as full 
and as whole in every one glass as though 
there were but one. 

Now to my purpose, if you consider likewise 
that all the good souls that be scoured from 
deadly sin be in the manner of glasses set in 
an order to receive the love of our Saviour 
Christ Jesu, such souls as by true penance 
doing, by sighing, by weeping, by praying, by 
watching, by fasting and by other like, be the 
better scoured and cleansed from the spots and 
malice of deadly sin, they be the brighter 
glasses and more clearly receive this love, and 
such also be near unto our Saviour, for nothing 
putteth us far from Him but only sin. And 
therefore they that have more diligently scoured 
their souls from the rust of sin be nearer unto 


Him than the others that so have not done. 
Such souls also as of their part enforce them- 
selves to a great love and to a more ample 
fervour, they do enlarge the capacity of their 
souls to receive a more large abundance of 
love; again, those that less enforce them, have 
a less capacity in receiving, and therefore so 
much the less they receive of this love, even 
as a man that openeth his bosom wide and 
enlargeth it, is more able to receive a greater 
thing into it than he that doeth not. 

But yet, as I have said before of the glasses, 
every one of the souls receives as full and as 
whole a love of Jesu Christ as though there 
were no more souls in all the world but that 
one alone, for the love of Christ Jesus [is] in- 
finite. And therefore when innumerable of souls 
have every one of them received as much the 
love of Christ Jesu as to every one of them is 
possible, yet hath He still in Himself love suffi- 
cient for infinite more, and this His love there- 
by is not in any point diminished nor lessened, 
though it be divided into many, be the number 
of them never so great. None of them that 
be beloved receive the less because of the multi- 
tude of his fellows, nor if he had no more but 
himself he should not thereby have any more 
abundance of love to his part, but according to 


the cleansing and capacity of his soul and nigh- 
ness unto Christ, his part in love shall be the 
less or more. Wherefore, good sister, I pray 
you be diligent to scour your soul clean, and 
to enforce your soul on your part fervently to 
love your spouse Christ Jesu, and draw nigh 
unto Him with entire devotion, and then un- 
doubtedly you shall be partner to the more 
plenteous abundance of His love, notwith- 
standing any other multitude which beside is 
beloved of Him; for He nevertheless is as 
studious of you and as mindful and as fervently 
careth for your weal as though there were no 
more beloved of Him but you alone in all this 

The Ninth Considefation 
The ninth consideration is this : where perad- 
venture you would object to me again and say : 
" Brother, if it be thus as you say, that my 
Lord Jesu loveth me so much, and is so mindful 
of me, and so fervently intendeth my weal, 
what need me to care whatsoever I do ? He 
will not cast me away ; He will not forsake me 
nor suffer me to perish." Good sister, without 
doubt as I have said, our Saviour Christ Jesu 
is in love towards you, and He is mindful and 
more loving towards you than I can express. 


And sure you may be that He will never cast 
you away, nor forsake you, if you before cast 
not yourself away, nor forsake yourself. But 
if you give any place to sin in your soul, and 
suffer it to enter upon you, verily then you 
forsake yourself and cast yourself away, and 
willingly destroy yourself, that is your deed and 
not His ; for He never forsaketh any creature 
unless they before have forsaken themselves. 
And if they will forsake themselves, were they 
never in so great favour with Him before, they 
then incontinently lose His favour. The which 
thing well appeareth in His first spiritual crea- 
tures the noble angels, Lucifer and his company, 
which were created in excellent brightness, and 
were much in the favour of Almighty God, they 
presumptuously offended Him in pride ; for the 
which not only they lost His favour, but also 
their marvellous brightness became inconti- 
nently horrible, foul, and were expelled out of 
the glorious kingdom of heaven that they were 
in, and thrown into perpetual darkness, into 
the prison of hell. 

The first man Adam also, who was created 
in singular honour, and was put into paradise, 
a place full of gladness, there to live in comfort 
of all pleasure, the which was done to him for 
a singular love that Almighty God had towards 


him ; yet anon as he fell to sin he was in like 
manner expelled out from that pleasure, and 
sent into this miserable world to endure misery 
and pain. 

If those noble creatures which were lifted 
up into so great favour with Almighty God, so 
lightly by their misdemeanour in sin lost His 
gracious favour, let none other creature think 
but if they admit any sin to their soul, they 
shall be likewise excluded out of His favour. 
For sin is so odious unto Almighty God, that 
not the dearest friends that ever He had in all 
the world, but if there were found in their souls 
any deadly sin after death, they should never 
be received into the joy of heaven. Not the 
blessed Mary Magdalene for all her love towards 
Him, nor yet His own blessed Mother that 
bare Him into this world, if one deadly sin 
were found in their souls, they should inconti- 
nent be thrown into the dark dungeon of hell. 
Wherefore, good sister, say not, if His love 
be so much upon you, and He so desirously 
intendeth your profit, that you may do what 
you list, you need not to care what you 
do ; but contrariwise, the more that He loveth 
you, the more you should take heed unto your- 
self and beware that you offend Him not, for so 
did the Blessed Mary Magdalene, of whom 


I spake before. She, notwithstanding the great 
love that both our Saviour had to her and she 
unto Him again, for the which also her sins were 
forgiven her, yet after His death she fled from 
the company of men, and lived in the wilder- 
ness far from any worldly comfort, in great 
wailing, fasting and prayer and such other 
painfulness of her body, and was nothing the 
less diligent to keep herself warily from sin, for 
the great love that our Lord and Saviour had 
to her; but for that the more studiously she did 
avoid and eschew everything whereby she might 
run into any displeasure against Him. 

The Tenth Consideration 
The tenth consideration is this : it were well 
done, and much it should further this cause if 
you truly esteem of how little value your love 
is, how vain, how light and how trifling a thing 
it is, and how few there be that would much 
regard it or set much price thereby, for few 
there be or none to whom it may do any profit 
or avail. Contrariwise, you should consider the 
love of your spouse, the sweet Jesu, how ex- 
cellent it is, how sure, how fast, how constantly 
abiding, how many have much specially regarded 
it. Martyrs innumerable, both men and women, 
for His love have shed their blood and have en- 


dured every kind of martyrdom, were it never 
so cruel, were it never so terrible. No pain, no 
torment, might compel them to forsake His 
love ; so desirous were they of His love that 
rather than they would forego it, they gave no 
force of the loss of all this world beside, and 
their own life also. So dear and precious was 
that love to them that all the honours, pleasures 
and possessions of this life they accounted as 
very trifles in comparison of that. And what 
be you in comparison of them, but naughty, 
wretched and miserable ? Where then they, 
which be now glorious saints above in heaven, 
so much have valued and so greatly esteemed 
this most excellent love, and you may have the 
same love for yours, that is so naughty and so 
little worth, what should you do of your part ? 
How much should you enforce yourself not only 
to obtain this love, but studiously to keep it, 
since that you have it once, and for nothing 
to depart therefrom ! He of His goodness doth 
not repel any creature from His love, but per- 
mitteth them assuredly that if any draw nigh 
unto Him by love, He will love them again, and 
give His most precious love for theirs. He 
sayeth : Ego diligentes vie diligo ; that is to say : 
*' I love them that love Me." And in another 
place : En qui venit ad me non ejiciam foras; 


that is to say : " What person soever cometh 
unto Me, I will not cast him away." Sister, 
if you consider this deeply, it should move you 
to fall down upon your knees and with all your 
heart and mind say unto your Spouse in this 
manner ; 

" O my blessed Saviour Lord Jesu, Thou 
askest my love, Thou desirest to have my heart, 
and for my love Thou wilt give me Thy love 
again. O my sweet Lord, what is this for Thee 
to desire, which art so excellent ? If my poor 
heart were of so much value as all the hearts of 
men and women that ever were, if they were put 
together in one ; and if it were as precious and 
noble as there is price and nobleness in all the 
orders of angels ; if furthermore it did contain 
in it all bodily and spiritual treasure that is 
within the compass of heaven or without, yet it 
were but a little gift to give unto so great a 
Lord, for His most delicate and precious love 
to be had of Him again : much rather my 
love and heart, as it is now naughty, wretched 
and miserable, so is it but a small gift and of 
little value. Nevertheless, such as it is, since 
it is Thy pleasure to have it and Thy goodness 
doth ask it of me, saying : Praebe mihi cor tuum ; 
that is to say : ' Give me thy heart ' — I freely 
give it unto Thee, and I most humbly beseech 


Thy goodness and mercy to accept it, and so to 
order me by Thy grace, that I may receive into 
it the love of nothing contrary to Thy pleasure, 
but that I always may keep the fire of Thy love, 
avoiding from it all other contrary love that 
may in any wise displease Thee." 

The Final Conclusion of All 
Now then, good sister, I trust that these con- 
siderations, if you often read them with good 
deliberation, and truly imprint them in your 
remembrance, they will somewhat inflame your 
heart with the love of Christ Jesu, and that love 
once established in you all the other points and 
ceremonies of your religion shall be easy unto 
you, and no wit painful ; you shall then com- 
fortably do everything that to good religion 
appertaineth, without any great weariness. 
Nevertheless, if it so fortune that you at any 
time begin to feel any dulness of mind, quicken 
it again by the meditation of death, which I 
send you here before, or else by some effectual 
prayer earnestly calling for help and succour 
upon the most sweet Jesu, thinking, as it is in- 
deed, that is your necessity and that no where 
else you can have any help but of Him. And if 
you will use these short prayers following, for 
every day in the week one, I think it shall be 


unto you profitable. For thus you may in your 
heart shortly pray, what company soever you 
be amongst. 

The Prayers be these : 
O BLESSED Jesu, make me to love Thee entirely. 

O blessed Jesu, I would fain, but without 
Thy help I cannot. 

O blessed Jesu, let me deeply consider the 
greatness of Thy love towards me. 

O blessed Jesu, give unto me grace heartily 
to thank Thee for Thy benefits. 

O blessed Jesu, give me good will to serve 
Thee, and to suffer. 

O sweet Jesu, give me a natural remem- 
brance of Thy passion. 

O sweet Jesu, possess my heart, hold and 
keep it only to Thee. 

These short prayers if you will often say, 
and with all the power of your soul and heart, 
they shall marvellously kindle in you this love, 
so that it shall be always fervent and quick, 
the which is my especial desire to know in you. 
For nothing may be to my comfort more than to 
hear of your furtherance and profiting in God 
and in good religion, the which our blessed 
Lord grant you for His great mercy. Amen. 

A Sermon 

Vcrie fruitful!, godly, and learned, upon thys 
sentence of the Prophet Ezechiell, **La- 
mentationes. Carmen, et vae,** very aptely 
applyed unto the passion of Christ: Preach' 
ed upon a good Friday, by the same John 
Fisher, Bishop of Rochester 

The Prophet Ezechiel telleth that he saw a 
book spread before him, the which was written 
both within and without, and there was written 
also in it, "Lamentationes, Carmen, et vae," that 
is to say : " Lamentation, song and woe." This 
was a wonderful book and much to be mar- 
velled upon. Much comfortable knowledge 
and sweetness this Prophet got by this book (as 
he sailh in the chapter next ensuing, Factum est 
m ore meo sictit mel dulce — " This book was in 
my mouth as sweet as honey." This book ta 
our purpose may be taken unto us, the Crucifix, 
the which doubtless is a marvellous book, as we 
shall shew hereafter. 

In the which if we do exercise our admira- 
tion, we shall come to wonderful knowledge^ 


Marvelling was the cause why that the philoso- 
phers came to so great knowledge as they had. 
They beheld and saw many wonderful things 
and effects in this world, as the marvellous 
earthquakes, thunders, lightnings, snow, rain and 
frost, blazing stars, the eclipses of the sun and of 
the moon, and such other effects. And those 
marvellous wonders moved them to search for 
the causes of the same. And so by diligent 
search and inquisition they came to great know- 
ledge and cunning, which cunning men call 
philosophy natural. But there is another higher 
philosophy which is above nature, which is also 
gotten with marvelling, and this is the very 
philosophy of Christian people. And doubtless 
amongst all other things concerning a Christian 
man, it is a thing much marvellous, and most 
wonderful, that the Son of God, for the love 
that He had unto the soul of man, would suffer 
Himself to be crucified, and so to take upon 
Him that most painful death upon the Cross. 
Of this the prophet Habacuc sayeth : Admi- 
ramini et obstupescite, quia opus factum est in 
diebus vestris quod nemo credet quum narrabitur 
— "Marvel and wonder you, for a work is done 
in your days, which when it shall be shewed, 
no man will believe." 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 


is most to be dreaded and feared, would be 
in so much fear that for very fear and dread 
of pain He had to suffer, He sweat water and 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
was most inestimable in price, and most precious, 
would suffer His body to be sold for so little a 
price as for the value of thirty pence ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
is the Lord of heaven and earth and all 
other creatures, would suffer Himself to be 
bound of those villains with ropes like a thief ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
hath so great might and power would suffer 
Himself to be taken of His cruel and mortal 
enemies, and so led unto all these pains ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
is the Judge of all the world would thus wrong- 
fully be judged ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
had in Him all wisdom would thus be mocked 
and reputed as a fool ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
is so strong and mighty would be made so 
weak and feeble that He fell under the weight 
and burthen of the Cross ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
is the Lord of Angels would be spitted and 


bobbed of a sort of lorels * in that most de- 
spiteful manner? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that is 
the King of everlasting glory would suffer His 
head in mockery to be crowned with thorns ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that 
giveth life to every creature would suffer this 
most shameful, sorrowful and so painful 
death ? 

Is it not a wonderful thing that He that is 
the Lord and author of all liberty would thus 
be bound with ropes and nailed hand and foot 
unto the Cross ? 

Thus who that list with a meek heart and a 
true faith to muse and to marvel of this most 
wonderful book (I say of the Crucifix), he shall 
come to more fruitful knowledge than many 
other which daily study upon their common 
books. This book may suffice for the study of 
a true Christian man all the days of his life. In 
this book he may find all things that be neces- 
sary to the health of his soul. St Francis 
could pass his time with this book and was 
never weary thereof, and his great study was in 
the compass of a few words, Quis tu^ et quis ego^ 
JDomine ? that is to say, " Who art Thou, Lord, 

* Low, worthless fellows. 


and who am I ? " This thought always did 
run from himself to Christ, and again from 
Christ unto himself. And so ever he marvelled 
of the most excellent nobleness of Christ, and 
compared it with his own naughtiness, always 
marvelling that Christ, being of so incomparable 
worthiness, would suffer that most painful death 
for so unworthy sinners ; which lesson is so 
plain and so common that every man, be he never 
so simple, may somewhat profit in it. And, 
again, it is so high that few can attain to reach 
to the special fruit of it. This holy St Francis 
so profited in this lesson that it caused in his 
heart such a fervent love, such a devotion, such 
an affection to Christ, that the capital wounds 
which he beheld in the hands and feet and side 
of Christ were by miracle imprinted in his own 
hands and feet. This thing the Bishop of 
Rome, Innocent,* and his cardinals did see, and 
had very proof thereof. 

The meditation and imagination of this 
book was so earnest and so continual that the 

* Pope Innocent III. is here referred to. This 
statement of Fisher is not quite accurate, as the date 
of the Stigmata is commonly fixed about the year 
1224 and Innocent died in 1216. Alexander IV. was 
the Pope who saw the Stigmata in St Francis' life- 
time. St Bonaventure assures us that he had this 
information from Alexander's own lips. 


tokens of the five wounds of Christ were im- 
printed and engraved in this holy saint's body. 
But to this high fruit (as I said) few or none 
besides him doth attain. It is a singular gift 
of Almighty God, and not common to be 
looked for of other persons. Nevertheless, who 
that will exercise this lesson, though he come 
not to this high point of perfection, he shall, 
nevertheless, greatly profit in the same and 
come to a great knowledge, both of Christ and 
of himself. A man may easily say and think 
with himself (beholding in his heart the image 
of the Crucifix) : " Who art Thou, and who am 
I ? " Thus every person, both rich and poor, 
may think, not only in the Church here, but in 
every other place, and in his business where- 
about he goeth. Thus the poor labourer may 
think, when he is at plough earing * his ground, 
and when he goeth to his pastures to see his 
cattle, or when he is sitting at home by his fire- 
side, or else when he lieth in his bed waking 
and cannot sleep. Likewise the rich man may 
do in his business that concerneth him. And 
the poor women also in their business, when 
they be spinning of their rocks f or serving of 

* Tilling. 

+ The rock was a staff held in the hand, from 
which the wool was spun, by turning a ball below. 


their pullen.* The rich women also in every 
lawful occupation that they have to do. It is 
an easy thing for any man or woman to make 
these two questions with themselves : '* O my 
Lord, that wouldest die for me upon a cross, 
how noble and excellent art Thou ! " and 
again, " How wretched and miserable am I 1 '* 
Doubtless, O thou Christian soul, He that hung 
for thy sake on the cross was verily the Son of 
God, as the noble centurion said when, at the 
death of Christ, he saw so many wonderful 
tokens; he saw the sun withdraw his light, and 
the air in darkness, and felt all the earth tremble 
and quake and the stones break asunder, then 
he said : Vere Filius Dei erat iste^ that is to say, 
'* Verily this person was the Son of God." 
Think with thyself, O Christian soul, how great 
a person He is that is the Son of God. And 
think again how villainous and how wretched 
thou art in comparison of Him. What art thou 
but ashes ? cinis es^ and unto ashes thou shalt 
return, et in cinerem reverteris, Abraham, who 
was a man of high perfection, yet when he 
should speak unto Almighty God he said : 
Quum sum pulvis et citiiSy loquar ad Domifiu?ny 
that is to say, " I am but dust and ashes, and 
yet I must speak unto my Lord." David also 

* i.e., poultry. 


saith : Universa vanitas omnis homo vivens^ that 
is to say, " Man containeth in him all vanity." 
Furthermore, Job speaketh of man, saying in 
this manner : Qui quasi flos egrcditur, et conteri- 
tur, et fugit velui utnbra — " Man is like a flower, 
he doth issue forth into the world, and soon 
after he is trodden down, and so, finally, he 
passeth like a shadow." Man is but earth and 
ashes, and shall pass away like a shadow and 
like a mere vanity. 

Contrariwise, Christ was, is, and ever shall 
be, the Prince of heaven, the Lord of angels 
and the Creator of all creatures. Qui fecit 
ccelwn et terram et omnia quce. in eis sunt — He 
made heaven and earth and all that is in them. 
His power is infinite and most to be dreaded — 
Omnipotens rex et metuendus nitJiis. His wis- 
dom is incomprehensible — O altitude divitiarum 
sapientice et sciefitice Dei, His greatness passeth 
all measure — Magnus Dominus et laudabilis 
nifnis, et magnitudinis ejus nan est finis. Shortly 
to say, when a man hath spoken or thought all 
that can be to the praise of His excellency, yet 
He doth far pass and surmount all that, as the 
Scripture saith : Glorificantes Dofninum, quan- 
tumcumque poteritis, supervalebit adhuc^ et admi- 
rabilis magnificentia illius. 

Now then, O thou sinful creature, marvel at 


His excellent worthiness, that was thus cruci- 
fied. And marvel also at thy naughtiness, for 
whose love He was thus crucified. Thus, I 
say, did the holy St Francis : Quis es tu, et 
quis sum ego^ Domine ? — " Who art Thou, my 
Lord so excellent, and who am I, for whom 
Thou wouldest endure all this pain.? " 

O Christian soul, often behold this book 
and say with this holy man: Quis es tu, et quis 
sum ego? Marvel that His inestimable good- 
ness would thus die for so miserable a vanity. 
And so marvelling, thou shalt profit in a gra- 
cious knowledge of Christ, and thy heart shall 
taste marvellous sweetness and be replenished 
with a devout savour of His most excellent 
goodness. But you marvel, peradventure, why 
I call the Crucifix a book ? I will now tell you 
the consideration why. A book hath boards, 
leaves, lines, writings, letters, both small and 
great. First, I say, that a book hath two 
boards : the two boards of this book are the 
two parts of the cross, for when the book is 
opened and spread, the leaves be couched upon 
the boards. And so the blessed body of Christ 
was spread upon the cross. 

The leaves of this book be the arms, the 
hands, legs and feet, with the other members of 
His most precious and blessed body. 


Never any parchment skin was more 
Straightly stretched by strength upon the tentors 
than was this blessed body upon the cross. 
These lorells that crucified Him drew by vio- 
lence His most precious arms with ropes unto 
either branch of the cross, that the sinews 
burst asunder, and so nailed His hands fast 
with spiking nails of iron unto the cross. After 
they stretched His feet likewise unto another 
hole beneath in the cross, and there nailed 
them with the third nail through both His feet. 
And so they reared up this body aloft against 
the sun, even as a parchment skin is set forth 
before the heat of the sun to dry. It was set up 
aloft to the intent that all the world might look 
upon this book. 

This book was written within and without. 
First, within was written but one word ; never- 
theless this one word compriseth in it, as saith 
St Paul, the whole treasure of all cunning and 
wisdom pertaining unto God, In quo sunt omnes 
thesauri sapientice. Dei — " In whom are all the 
treasures of the wisdom of God." Of this word St 
John speaketh, saying : In principio erat Verbum 
— "The Word was in the beginning, before all 
creatures." This Word is the second Person in 
the Godhead, the Son of God, which by the 
Holy Ghost was written in the inward side of 


this parchment. For the Godhead of Christ 
was covered and hidden under the likeness of 
man. The Holy Ghost was the pen of Al- 
mighty God the Father ; He set His most 
mighty word unto the body of Christ within the 
womb of the Virgin Mary, and so this book 
was written within. 

For as St Paul sayeth : Si cogtiovt'sseni, num- 
quam Dominum gloriae crucifixissent, that is to 
say, " If they had known the Son of God, which 
was and is the Lord of everlasting glory, they 
would never have crucified Him." They saw 
His manhood which was in outward sight, but 
they saw not His Godhead, which was covered 
within the same. The Godhead was the in- 
ward side, and the manhood was the outward 
side. Furthermore, when a book is spread, 
you see that in the leaves are many lines drawn. 
And many letters, some red, some black and 
some blue ; so in this book (the most blessed 
body of Christ) were drawn many lines, for it 
was all scourged with whips, so that everywhere 
the print of the cords of the scourges was left 
behind, and that in every place, from the neck 
downward unto the soles of His feet, so that 
there was no margin left in all this book, there 
was no void place, but everywhere it was 
either drawn with lines or else written with 


letters ; for these scourges filled not only His 
most precious body with lines drawn every- 
where, but also left many small letters, some 
black, some blue, some red. For the blood, by 
the violence of the scourges, sprung out in 
every place. And for because no part of this 
book should be unwritten. His head also was 
pierced with sharp thorns. 

These cruel Jews put upon His head a 
crown of thorns, and pressed it down upon the 
same as hard as they might press it by violence, 
beating it down with a strong reed. £t arun- 
dtne percutiebant caput ejus. And His blessed 
head so crowned, they did beat it down with a 
gadde or a hard reed. 

Thus you perceive that this book was full 
of lines and small letters (which were of divers 
colours, as I said), some black, some blue, 
some red, some bluish, that is to say, full of 
strokes and lashes, whereby the skin was torn 
and rent in a thousand places. Besides these 
small letters yet was there also great capital 
letters preciously illumined with roset colour ; 
roset is a red colour like unto the colour of a 
rose, which colour that most precious blood 
which issued out of His hands and feet doth 
represent unto us; with this most precious blood 
was illumined the five great capital letters in 


this wonderful book. I mean by these capital 
letters the great wounds of His body, in His 
hands, and in His feet, and in His side. 

These five great wounds were engraved with 
sharp and violent pens, that is to say, the sharp 
nails and the spear. And they do represent 
unto us the five capital letters of this book. 
Thus then you may perceive what be the 
boards of this book, and wliat be the leaves ; 
how it is written within and without; how it is 
lined and leathered, and what be the letters, 
as well the small as the great. Now we shall 
hear what manner of writing is contained in 
this book. But first here let us make our 
prayer for grace, beseeching Almighty God to 
give unto our hearts the gracious light of His 
beams, whereby we may the more clearly per- 
ceive the writings of this book, and that they 
may bring forth some good fruit to our souls' 

Now you shall hear what writings be con- 
tained in this book. In the book which Ezechiel 
did see, were written three manner of things : 
Lamentaitofies, Car?nen, et vae, which is to say, 
lamentations, songs and woe. And the same 
three things in like manner are written in this 
book of the Crucifix. First is lamentation, and 
this very conveniently is written in this book of 


the Crucifix. For whosoever will joy with 
Christ must first sorrow with Him. And by 
sorrow and lamentation he may come unto joy j 
but he that will not sorrow and lament with 
Christ here in this life, he shall come finally to 
the place where is everlasting woe, I say woe 
that shall never have end. Here therefore is 
written all these three, lamentation, song and 

First then we will speak of lamentation. 
Lamentation ariseth of four affections, either of 
a great fear or dread, or of a great shame, or 
of some sorrow, or else of some hatred. When 
Holophernes with a mighty power was entered 
into the country of Jewry, and terribly threatened 
to destroy all before him, the people were in 
a great fear and dread to be oppressed, and so 
fell down before Almighty God, and with great 
lamentation did call for His help. Omnis 
populus cecidit in faciem^ adorantes Dominum 
cum lamentatione et fletu — "All the people fell 
on their faces, worshipping our Lord with weep- 
ing and lamentation." 

The cause of this lamentation was the great 
dread which they were in. Here first then let 
us learn to dread; and doubtless, thou Christian 
soul, thou mayest here learn greater matter of 
dread than the Jews then were in \ for the Jews 


then were only in peril of temporal death, thou 
art in peril of everlasting death. 

Consider, man, how grievously thou hast 
sinned ; and also behold how grievously sin was 
revenged and punished in the blessed body of 
Christ. And thou shalt anon find here great 
cause and matter of dread. The stories telleth 
of Cambyses the King of Persia, that where 
one of his judges had given a false and a wrong 
judgement, he deprived him of his office, and 
made another in his place their judge after him. 
Furthermore, because of his falsehood he caused 
him to be slain, and his skin to be hanged up 
before the place of the common judgement, to 
the intent that this new judge, beholding the 
grievous punishment of his predecessor, might 
beware of falsehood, and always dread to give 
any wrong judgement. In like manner the 
image of the Crucifix is hung up in every 
churcii to the intent that we may see how 
grievously sin was punished in that most 
blessed body of our Saviour Christ Jesu : not 
for Himself, nor for His own sin, but for ours 
was He thus cruelly treated : we were the cause, 
we committed the sin. But yet nevertheless 
He bare the pains and burthens of our sins 
upon His back. 

As writeth St Peter : Peccaia nostra ipsepettulit 


m corpore suo super lignum cruets. And there- 
fore when we behold the image of the Crucifix 
in any place set up, we should think how 
grievously sin was punished in the body of our 
Saviour Christ. And thereby learn to dread the 
grievous punishment of sin. Alas, man, thinkest 
thou not that this was matter of dread ? This I 
say, that the very Son of God was for thy sin 
put unto this cruel death of the cross : if thou 
believe not this, thou art worse than the devils. 
For, as St James sayeth, daefnones credunt et 
contremiscunt, *' The devils do believe and 
tremble." And if thou verily believe it, thou 
mayest thereby think and learn how much our 
Saviour and His Father both do hate sin. For 
sith Almighty God the Father would give His 
most dearly beloved Son unto such an horrible 
death, only for to quench and to extinguish sin, 
thou mayest be sure that He hateth sin very 

Our Saviour also must needs hate sin, when 
He rather would suffer this most villainous death 
than that sin should have dominion upon our 
souls. Seeing then that thou knowest that both 
they hate sin, how shouldest thou dread to 
receive any sin into thy soul ? If sin were so 
displeasant to Almighty God the Father that 
rather than He would suffer it, He would give 


His own Son unto death for the expulsion of it ; 
how much rather now doth it displease Him, 
when His Son hath suffered death therefor, 
and yet sin reigneth nevertheless, and more 
generally than ever it did before. 

Furthermore, if sin was so grievouslypunished 
in Him that never did sin, how bitterly shall it 
be punished in thee, O sinful creature, the which 
hast done so many great outrageous sins ? Surely 
where He hath one nail in His hands and feet, 
thou sinful creature hast deserved one hundred. 
And for every one thorn that He suffered in 
His head, thou hast deserved a thousand. And 
for every one lash that He felt of the scourges, 
thou art worthy to have innumerable. 

Who that deeply considereth this that I have 
said, and with an earnest study resorteth often to 
look upon this book, I marvel if he do not find 
herein great cause and earnest matter of dread. 

Here also may every sinner quicken his sin, 
if any lie within his breast, for it is marvel that 
a sinner can without shame behold this blessed 
image. If a sinner call to remembrance his 
great unkindness, and repute the same unkind- 
ness any manner of vice, I trow that he will be 
much ashamed of his most unkind and ungentle 
dealing against so loving a Lord. 

Say to me, thou sinful creature, wilt thou 


not look that other men, when thou hast been 
unto them in anything beneficial, I say, wilt 
thou not look that they shall be kind and loving 
unto thee again? And if any person be unkind 
unto thee, wilt thou not rebuke him fully, and 
lay it unto his reproof to make him ashamed 
thereof? I am sure that thou wilt. Now then 
let me see, where is thy shame ? Behold and 
view every part of this blessed body ; what pain 
it endured for thy sake ! 

Seest thou not His eyes, how they be filled 
with blood and bitter tears ? 

Seest thou not His ears, how they be filled 
with blasphemous rebukes and opprobrious 
words ? 

His cheek and neck with buffets, His 
shoulders with the burthen of the cross? 

Seest thou not His mouth, how in His dry- 
ness they would have filled it with asell * and 

Seest thou not how His back is pained 
against the hard cross ? 

Seest thou not His sides, how they were 
scourged with sharp whips ? 

Seest thou not His arms, how they were 
strained by the violence of the ropes ? 

* i.e., vinegar. 


Seest thou not His hands, how they be 
nailed just unto the cross? 

Seest thou not His legs, how they be wearied 
with labour ? 

Seest thou not His feet, how painfully they 
stay and bear up the weight of His whole 
body ? 

O most unkind sinner, all this He suffered 
for thy sake. No greater kindness ever was or 
could be shewed to thee by any creature than 
this, which sweet Jesus did show for thee and 
for thy sake, and where is now thy kindness 
again ? 

No kindness thou canst shew, but much 
unkindness thou hast often shewed unto Him, 
and yet thou art not ashamed. Alas ! man, 
where is thy shame ? Think with thyself how 
many abominable sins thou hast done against 
His pleasure. I do ascertain thee that the 
least of them striketh Him more painfully unto 
the heart than any unkindness that ever was 
done unto thee in all thy life. 

For, as St Bernard saith in the person of 
Christ, when he hath rehearsed all the grievous 
pains of His Passion, he putteth unto these 
words : Extat inferius planctus praegravtor, quum 
te ingraium experior^ that is to say, but in- 
wardly mourning is much more grievous be- 


cause I perceive thou art to me so mucli 
unkind. So many sins, so much unkindness, 
and the more heinous and the more accustom- 
able that they be, the more abominable is thine 

If the least of many of thy sins had come to 
light and to the knowledge of men, thou wouldst 
have been sore ashamed of them. Christ 
knoweth them and saw thee do them, for 
Omnia nuda et aperta sunt oculis ejus — "All 
things be naked and open before His eyes " ; 
and yet thou art not ashamed of all thy un- 

Alas, man, hear what the king and prophet 
saith : Tota die verecundia viea contra me est, 
et confusio faciei meae co-operuit me — "All the day 
long my shame is before me, and my face is 
covered with confusion." Thus said this holy 
king, when our Saviour as yet had not suffered 
His Passion for him. 

This high point of kindness was not as yet 
shewed unto this man by our Saviour Christ, 
and he, nevertheless, was ashamed of his sin. 
Thou hast, peradventure, done much more out- 
rageous sin, and hast been much more unkind 
after this His most wonderful Passion suffered 
for thy sake than ever that king was, and that 
also maketh thy sin much more horrible. Thou 


hast after thy promise made unto Him, falsified 
the same promise and untruly broken it by 
multiplying of many foul and abominable sins 
and by often renewing of the same. Thou 
didst promise once at the Sacrament of Baptism 
to keep thy faith and truth unto thy Saviour 
and to forsake the devil and all his works. An 
honest man or an honest woman would be 
much ashamed to break their promise, and 
specially to their friend. Albeit the world is 
now full of such lorells, that do no more re- 
gard to break their promise than for to drink 
when they be dry. How often hast thou 
broken thy promise ? Alas, man, learn to be 
ashamed, and say with the Prophet Esdras : 
Deus mgus, confundor et erubesco levare facievi 
mgam, quoniam uiiquitaies nostrae levatae sunt 
super caput nostrum, that is to say, " O my God, 
I am confounded and ashamed to lift up my face 
unto Thee, for our sins be risen far above our 
heads." Ye women, when there is any black 
spot in your faces, or any moole * in your ker- 
chiefs, or any mire upon your clothes, be you 
not ashamed? Yes forsooth, sir; but I shall 
tell you whereof you ought to be ashamed. 
Surely, if your souls have any spots of deadly 

* i.e., any stain on your head-dress. 


sin in them, for when our Saviour so dearly 
with His most precious blood, and with all these 
grievous pains, did wash and wipe and cleanse 
our souls from every spot of deadly sin, ye 
should be much ashamed to defile them again. 
If you be ashamed for a foul, miry shoe, and 
not of a foul, stinking soul, ye make more 
dearer your shoes than your souls. If ye be 
ashamed of a spot in your clothes and have no 
shame for many great blots in your souls, what 
shall I say but, J^rons meretricis facta est tibi, no- 
luisti erubescere^ that is to say, " Thou hast 
taken upon thee the face of a brothel, thou 
wilt not be ashamed." If thou then deeply con- 
sider how many shameful blots of sin be in thy 
soul before the eyes of Almighty God and all 
the glorious court of heaven, and how by them 
thou hast utterly broken thy promise unto God 
and committed so great unkindness against this 
most loving charity, that was showed unto thee 
for thy love and for thy sake by our Saviour on 
the cross, I suppose thou shalt find matter and 
cause of great shame if any sparkle of honesty 
be yet left in thy soul. 

Thirdly, thou mayest here take matter 
enough of sorrow, for here your Saviour 
piteously crieth and complaineth of His great 
sorrow, saying : O vos omnes gut iransitis per 


vtam, attendite et vidcte si est dolor similis sicut 
dolor mens — " All ye that pass forth by, take heed 
and see whether any sorrow was ever like unto 
Mine." Alas, to see so noble a Man, so gentle 
and so innocent, so cruelly treated in every 
part of His most delicate body, and to hear 
Him so piteously complaining, who shall not 
be sorry ? Surely none, except his heart be 
harder than any flint stone or adamant stone. 
These same four points alone may suffice to 
stir any gentle heart to sorrow. I say His 
excellent nobleness. His innocency, the cruelty 
that He did suffer and His piteous complaining. 
If thou, O Christian man, sawest thine enemy 
thus mangled and wounded, it might stir thee 
to take compassion upon him. If thou saw 
any Jew or Saracen thus tormented, it might 
move thee to pity. Bat much rather to see 
thy Lord, thy Saviour, and for thy sake thus 
cruelly treated, thus without any pity cruci- 
fied and pained, hanging on a cross, should 
move thee to compassion. For say to me, for 
whom supposest thou that our Saviour Christ 
Jesus suffered all those grievous pains? Surely 
for thy sin. Pro impits Christus nwrhius est* 
For sinners Christ Jesu died, there was no 
cause but sin. Thy sin was the cause of His 

Rom. V. 


death ; thy sin gave Him His death's wound. 
O sinful creature, how much cause hast thou 
for to be sorry ! For thy sin was the root and 
fountain of all His sorrow, and yet thou ceasest 
not daily by thy sin to increase His sorrow. 
O what flood of tears did the blessed Magda- 
len shed, remembering her grievous sin ! She 
first conceived a great dread in her soul for 
her sin. Secondly, she was greatly ashamed 
of her abominations within her soul, for she 
regarded much more the inward shame of her 
conscience than the outward shame of the 
world. And therefore she let not in the pre- 
sence of many persons to come to the feet of 
our Saviour and to shew herself a sinner, and 
there took great sorrow and wept full bitterly 
for her sin. Thus after dread and shame 
followed her sorrow. And when had she this 
dread, shame and sorrow ? Truly before that 
our Saviour hung on the cross. Yet she 
knew not that her sin was cause and occasion 
of His most cruel death. 

But when she saw Him hang so painfully 
on the cross, and considered that for her sin He 
suffered all the pains, her heart was then so full 
of sorrow that for very pain it might have 

O thou sinful creature i If ihou cannot 


sorrow, come learn of this blessed woman to 
sorrow for thy sin. Think that thy sin was 
the cause and occasion of all this pain and 
sorrow, that thy Lord and Saviour did suffer 
on the cross. 

And not only she giveth the example of 
sorrow, but His blessed Mother abundantly 
then sorrowed at His death. St John sorrowed, 
St Peter sorrowed and wept bitterly. All the 
apostles were in sorrow. 

But whereunto speak I of reasonable crea- 
tures ? The unreasonable and the unsensible 
creatures shewed a manner of sorrow. The 
earth quaked, the mighty stones burst asunder, 
the monuments opened, the dead corpses is 
sued out of their monuments. 

All these were moved with compassion. 
And only thou, wretched sinner, for whose cause 
He suffered all this pain and grievance, hast no 
pity nor compassion upon Him. 

Alas, how great is thy hardness ! How 
obstinate is thy heart, that will suffer no pity to 
enter into it ! Verily, thou art more harder 
than are the stones, for they were moved by His 
passion so mightily that they broke asunder. 
Petrae scissae sunt. When then the hard stones 
and all the other unreasonable creatures were 
thus moved and stirred to take some com- 


passion of the painful death of Christ, and yet 
felt no profit by His death, thou much rather 
shouldst be moved, for whose love He did en- 
dure all these grievous pains. Look thou there- 
fore upon this book, and thou shalt here find 
great cause and matter of sorrow. 

Fourthly, if thou canst not sorrow, yet 
thou mayest here learn to hate. Thou mayest 
learn to hate sin, which was cause of all 
this trouble. It is not for nought that the 
Scripture saith ; Quasi a facie colubri fuge 
peccahim, denies leonis, de?ites ejus interficientis 
animas hominum — *' Flee from sin, even as thou 
wouldst flee from the face of an adder, for as 
the teeth of the lion devoureth the body of 
man, so death doth slay their souls." Sin is so 
odious, and so great an injury to God, that it 
was necessary for the recompense of this injury 
that the Son of God should suffer this most 
painful death of the cross. Sin provoked 
Almighty God the Father so deeply to dis- 
pleasure and wrath, and to take vengeance 
upon sinners, that without the sacrifice of His 
own Son on the gibbet of the cross. He would 
not be appeased nor reconciled unto sinners 
again. Sin so deadly wounded and blotted 
the soul of man, that without shedding of the 
mpst precious blood of our Saviour Christ Jesu, 


no life could be restored unto sinners, nor could 
the souls be washed from the foul abomi- 
nable corruption of sin. 

Sin so debarreth and shutteth from sinners 
the gates of heaven, that they might not have 
been opened, but only by the merit of this most 
bitter passion, and suffering these most painful 
torments on the cross. Sin set the gates of 
hell so wide open and brought all this world 
into that danger and thraldom of the devil, 
that we should all have been devoured of the 
pit of hell, unless we had been ransomed with 
this most precious treasure that was shed for us 
on the cross. O sinful creature, hast thou not 
great cause to hate sin, that hath brought thee 
into that miserable condition that by thy sin 
thou hast done and committed high injury 
against Almighty God, and hast provoked Him 
to vengeance? That by thy sin thou hast 
thus mortally wounded thine own soul ? That 
by sin thou hast brought thyself into the 
danger of the devil, and be damned in hell per- 
petually? That by thy sin thou hast shut 
the gates of heaven against thyself? Alas, 
man, where canst thou find greater occasion for 
hatred ? 

If thy neighbour do unto thee but a light 
injury, thou canst anon hate him ; yea, and so 



hate him, that thou wilt say thou mayest not 
find in thy heart to love him. Sin hath done 
unto thee all these great injuries, and yet thou 
lovest sin, and canst not hate it ! Alas, what 
madness is this ! Joab said unto King David : 
Diligis odientcs te, et odio habes diligentes U — 
" Thou lovest them that hate thee, and thou 
hatest them that love thee." The same word 
may well be said unto every sinner that fol- 
loweth the course of sin ; and likewise vice 
doth procure the destruction of sinners, and 
yet the sinners do follow after them. 

Our Saviour with all grace and virtue pro- 
cureth the salvation of sinners, but Him they 
will not hear, nor take any ways after His 
counsel. And this is nothing else but an 
extreme madness, for they should contrariwise 
love our Saviour, that so loving for their weal 
endured the grievous pains of the cross, and 
hate the devil and sin which were the very 
cause of death. 

By this then you may perceive that in this 
book you may find matter enough of lamenta- 
tion, since you may read in this book so much 
cause of dread, of shame, of sorrow and of 
hatred. And this is the first writing whereof 
we promised to speak. 

* 2 King-s xix. 


The second writing that I said was also 
written in this book, was Carmen, that is to say, 
song. Surely, if either love, or hope, or joy, or 
comfort, will make a soul to sing, here he may 
take great occasion to sing. 

First, here is great matter of love, and so 
great that if any person will either give his love 
freely, or else for some certain price sell it, He 
that died on the cross is best worthy to have it. 
If thou search in heaven and on earth one person 
upon whom thou rnayest best bestow thy love, 
thou shalt find none comparable unto Christ 
Jesus, so wise, so mighty, so gentle, so kind, so 
amiable, far passing all other; and there too He 
is much desirous of thy love. For when Moses 
had rehearsed the great benefits which Almighty 
God had given unto man, he saith : E^ nu7ic 
audi quid Do minus Deus tuus requirat a te, nisi 
ut diligas mm — '* Now hear what thy Lord God 
doth require of thy part, but that thou love 

So now, if thou wilt freely give thy love, thou 
canst not more wisely nor better bestow it than 
upon Him who is so excellent and hath all the 
conditions above said, and there too also is so 
desirous to have thy love. 

* Deut. X. 


And if thou wilt sell thy love, I trow there 
is none that will give unto thee more liberally 
for the same than He hath done. Where shalt 
thou find him that will shed one drop of blood 
out of his heart for thy sake ? Where shalt thou 
find him that will give his own soul and life for 
thy love? There can no more be asked of 
any man than that : Afajorem charitatem nemo 
habet nisi ut animam suam ponat quis pro 
amicis suis — " No man can show greater charity 
than to put his own life in jeopardy for his 

But, peradventure, thou wilt say : " Sir, if 
He had done this for me alone, I had been 
bound then to have given Him my love wholly 

Why, man, art thou so envious, that thou 
wouldest have no partners of this most precious 
death with thee, but thine own self? This is 
a very malicious desire to exclude all others, 
and especially when thy profit and merit shall 
not be diminished. 

Albeit there be never so many besides that 
take commodity thereby, I say unto thee, O 
man, and I assure thee that as fruitfully He 
died for thee — if thou wilt dispose thyself to be 
partner of His death — as if there had been no 


more but thyself in all this world. Truth it is, 
there be many more besides thee that be 
partners of this death. But all they, yea, and 
if there were a thousand thousand times innu- 
merable more than there be, all that multi- 
tude shall nothing diminish any one crumb of 
merit of this most blessed death belonging unto 
thee. And again, if thou take much more fruit 
thereof than any one of them, yet shall they 
take no impairment, or receive the less because 
thou hast so much. 

Wilt thou see by some example that this is 
truth that I now say ? 

When thou seest a torch-light in a house 
where many persons be, doth not that torch 
give as much light to them all as if there were 
but one person there ? Every person after the 
quickness of their sight, taketh more or less 
profit of that light than doth another, but yet 
he that taketh more hindereth his fellows nothing 
in so taking, nor he that taketh less giveth 
thereby any occasion for his fellows to take 
any more. 

And if it be thus of the light of a torch, 
much rather it is so of the merit of this most 
gracious death, and of this most precious blood, 
which by the reason of the Godhead abun- 


dantly sufficeth for the redemption of innu- 
merable souls, were their sins never so many, 
never so horrible, never so abominable. 

Surely, as St John saith : Ipse est propi- 
tiaiio pro peccatis nostris, non pro nostris ta?itum 
sed et totius mundi — " He was and is a sacrifice 
abundantly sufficient for the sins of all this 

When then for thy sake, and for thy love, 
He suffered this most horrible death, which 
was so painful that the only remembrance of 
it made Him to sweat bloody sweat, and that in 
so great abundance that it trickled down by 
His side unto the ground \ if the only thinking 
of this death was so painful, how painful was 
the suffering of the same indeed ! How might 
He more evidently express unto thee the love 
of His heart than by this means? Or what 
more might He have done for thy love, as He 
sayeth Himself: Quid ultra facere debui^ et 
non feci? — "What might I further have done, 
which I did not for thy love ? " 

Thou mayest then find here in this book 
great matter for love. 

Here is also great matter of hope, and es- 
pecially to sinners that will utterly forsake their 
sins and amend their lives for Christ Jesu's 

* I John ii. 


sake. Doubtless for such He suffered this most 
bitter death. I'ro impiis Christus nwrtuus est. 
" For wicked sinners Jesus Christ died."* And 
in another place the same St Paul saith : 
Christus Jesus venit in hunc mundum salvos 
facere peccatores — " Christ Jesus came into this 
world to save sinners that will amend their 
lives." t 

O Christian soul, take thou upon thee the 
cross of penance and be crucified with Him, 
and then without doubt thou shalt be partner of 
the merit of His crucifixion and of His most 
fruitful Passion. 

What shall exclude thee from His merit ? 
Almighty God the Father ? Nay. Qui prop? io 
filio suo non pepercit, sed pro nobis omnibus tradi- 
dit illmn^ quo tnodo non cum illo nobis omnia do- 
nabit? " He that did not spare His own Son, but 
gave Him unto the death for us all, what shall 
He deny us?" What greater evidence canst 
thou ask that Almighty God the Father will 
forgive thy sin than this, that He would not for- 
sake to give unto death His own Son ? I say, 
His own most dearly beloved Son, of whom He 
said : Hie est filius meus diiectus, in quo mihi 
complactii — " This is My well-beloved Son, in 
Whom is all My pleasure." What greater evi- 

* Rom. V. t I Tim. i. 


dence and proof mayest thou desire, that He 
will forgive thy sins, than that He would put 
this most inestimable jewel into such a danger 
for thy sake, and send it unto this most painful 
and shameful and sorrowful death of the 
cross ? 

But, peradventure, thou thinkest that our 
Saviour, because thou hast been so unkind unto 
Him, will not receive thee unto His mercy ? I 
say, therefore, forsake thy sins, and accuse thy 
unkindness, and be sorry for it ; and doubt not 
but He will forgive and forget thine unkindness 
and receive thee again unto His great mercy. 

St Bernard saith : " Who may not be 
ravished to hope and confidence, if he consider 
the order of our Lord's body. His head bowing 
down to offer a kiss, His arms spread to em- 
brace us. His hands bored through to make 
liberal gifts, His side opened to show unto us 
the love of His heart, His feet fastened with 
nails that He shall not start away but abide 
with us, and all His body stretched, forcing 
Himself to give it wholly unto us ? " 

Surely, O man, He that would thus and 
after this manner exhibit His body unto thee on 
the cross (if thou wilt endeavour thee upon thy 


part), He will not refuse thee but take thee 
unto His mercy. 

This most precious blood that He shed on 
the cross crieth always mercy for sinners that do 
thus return. And, therefore, St Paul sayeth : 
Accessistis ad sanguinem melius loquefitem quam 
Abel — '* Ye become and have returned you unto 
the blood that speaketh more graciously than 
did the blood of Abel." The blood of Abel 
cried vengeance before God, as Almighty God 
said unto Cain in the Book of Genesis : 
Sanguis Abel fratris tui claviat ad vie vindi- 
dam de terra — " The blood of thy brother Abel 
crieth vengeance in Mine ears from the ground 
where it is shed." 

But the most precious blood of our Saviour 
Jesu Christ crieth mercy for all sinners that do 
repent; and our Saviour now, before the face of 
His Father, showeth His wounds and showeth 
His most precious blood, and ceaseth not to 
procure mercy for them. This plainly doth 
affirm the blessed apostle St John saying in this 
manner : Filioli, haec scribo vobis ut non peccetis : 
sed ei si quis peccaverit, advocatum habemus apud 
Patrem Jesum Christujii justum^ et ipse est propi- 
tiatio pro peccatis nostris, that is to say, "Child- 
ren, I write these things unto you to the intent 
that you should not sin. Nevertheless, if it 


fortune any man to sin, we have an advocate 
for us, Christ Jesus, before the face of His 
Father. And He is righteous, and without sin, 
and a very satisfaction for all our sins." 

Who then attentively doth behold this Cruci- 
fix and verily believeth that on the cross was 
paid the ransom of all sinners, how may he not 
fully trust that if he asks mercy for his sins they 
shall be forgiven him? So that every sinner 
may find great matter and occasion of hope. 

In the cross is also matter of joy. Here is 
occasion of such excessive joy that a soul which 
verily tasteth it cannot but highly rejoice in the 
same. And therefore St Paul did say : Mi/ii 
autem absit gloriari nisi in cruce Domini Jesu 
Christi — " God forbid that I rejoice in any 
other thing than in the cross of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." Here, doubtless, is great cause for 
every true Christian man to rejoice, and speci- 
ally for three points. 

The first is that by the death of our Saviour 
on the cross and shedding of His most precious 
blood on the cross we be fully reconciled to 
Almighty God as often as we do true repentance 
with a fast purpose of amendment. 

Thus St Paul saith(ad Col): Complacuit per 
gum reconciliare omnia in ipsum per sangtiinefn 
crticis — " It hath pleased God the Father that by 


His Son and by His blood shed on the cross all 
should be reconciled." 

But you will ask me what meaneth this word 
** reconciled"? It is as much to say, as to be made 
at one with Almighty God and to be at friend- 
ship with Him, as two men when they have been 
at variance to be made lovers together again, 
so the displeasure which He had against us for 
our sin is taken away, and His great wrath is 
fully pacified. So where we were by sin the 
children of the devil, now we have recovered to 
be made again the children of God and, con- 
sequently, the inheritors of heaven. O thou 
Christian man, is not here great cause to 
rejoice ? 

If thou hast a rich man for thy father which 
had loved thee much, and he for thy misde- 
meanour had cast thee out of his favour, and so 
thou wert in jeopardy to lose thy inheritance, if 
by means of a brother of thine thou mightest be 
brought into his favour again and be taken for 
his son as thou wast before and restored there- 
by to thine inheritance, hadst thou not great 
cause to be joyous and rejoice, that by this 
means thou hast recovered again thy father's 
love with all the commodities belonging unto 
the same ? In like manner it is of every sinner, 
for he by his lewd demeanour and by his sinful 


dealing hath so displeased his Father that he is 
cast out from the favour of his Father, and is in 
peril to lose his inheritance which his most 
loving Father had provided for him. 

Nevertheless, His only begotten Son, by His 
inestimable goodness and charity, suffering the 
most painful death of the cross and shedding 
His most precious blood for amends and recom- 
pense of our ungracious dealings, hath recon- 
ciled us again, and made us at one with His 
Father, and set us at a perfect peace, concord 
and unity. And this is concerning the first 

The second, by the virtue of the cross and 
of His most blessed Passion, the power of our 
enemies be much broken, for on the cross our 
Saviour by His death got the victory upon 
them, for the which St Paul said : Expolians 
prina'patus et potestates traduxit confidenter^ 
triumphans eos in semetipso — " Christ Jesus, spoil- 
ing the mighty power of the devil, hath openly 
detected their frauds, and got a very triumph 
of them in His own person." And therefore 
nothing is yet more terrible unto them than the 
sign of the cross. A blessed virgin, St Chris- 
tian, had such a confidence in the token of the 
cross, that when she felt herself tempted with 
her ghostly enemy, she marked herself with the 


same token, and at every temptation she got the 
better of the devils ; and by this holy token 
chased them away and put them ever to flight. 
Thirdly, by the virtue of the cross and of this 
most fruitful death, our handwriting which 
made most against us, was clearly put out. 
Where was it written ? In the book of our 
own conscience. There is no manner of sin that 
we do, but it is written in the book of our 
conscience. And if we repent us not of the 
same and be heartily sorry for it before our 
death, this book of our conscience shall be 
shewed against us in the dreadful day of 
judgement. Nevertheless, if we repent us and 
confess us, and do true repentance therefor, 
then by the virtue of this Passion it shall be 
scraped out of the book of our conscience. 
Therefore St Paul calleth sin our own hand- 
writing: Delevit quod adversum nos erat, chirogra- 
phum decreti quod erat contrariuni nobis, et ipsum 
tulit de medio, affigens illudcruci — " Christ Jesus 
(he sayeth) put out the handwriting of that 
decree which was against us, and so withdrew 
it, fastening it unto the cross." When thou per- 
ceivest, O sinful creature, that by the cross of 
Christ, and by that most precious blood which 
was shed on the cross, thou art reconciled 
and made at one with God, and the power of 


thine enemies is greatly repressed. And finally 
thy sin which was most against thee was 
crucified on the same cross, so that thou mayest 
clearly see that here is great matter of excessive 
joy and to rejoice in the most blessed Crucifix. 

Finally, in the cross is also matter of great 
comfort, when a person hath deserved a great 
open shame, and is brought even to the plunge 
of the matter, and yet by the means of help 
he is delivered from the same, is not this his 
deliverance from this open shame a comfort 
unto him ? Yes, doubtless. 

The noble woman Susanna, as the Prophet 
Daniel telleth, albeit she was guiltless, yet for 
because she would not assent to the wretched 
desire of two lewd priests, she was by them 
wrongfully accused and put to great shame; 
for they wrongfully slandered her, that she had 
taken another man besides her husband, and 
that she had committed adultery. Neverthe- 
less, when the matter was tried by the goodness 
of Almighty God, and she was clearly dis- 
charged from this terrible occasion, and clearly 
delivered from this shame, it was a great com- 
fort unto her. 

The blessed Magdalen by her wretched 
living had deserved great shame, yet when she 
came to our Saviour Christ, and wept at His 


feet, and so by His great mercy was excused of 
her shame, her heart was set at a great rest and 
in great comfort. The woman of wliom the 
Gospel tellelh, that was taken in adultery by 
her enemies and so brought before our Saviour 
Christ, and there in His presence, and before 
all His people, her shameful deed was pub- 
lished, who may think but that she was sore 
accombred with that open shame ? but yet when 
our Saviour had confounded her enemies, and 
delivered her from that shame, she was restored 
to much ease and comfort of her heart. Why 
tell I this ? Truly to the intent that we may 
see great matter of comfort in the cross, for we 
sinners have deserved great shame for our 
abominable sin, surely so great that if we verily 
knew the greatness of the shame that we have 
deserved, we might never sustain the remem- 
brance thereof. And yet that most inestimable 
goodness of Christ by that horrible shame that 
He suffered on the cross, delivered us from ever- 
lasting shame. He took there upon His back 
all the burthen of our sins. There wanted no 
circumstances of horrible shame, for then the 
death of the cross was the most shameful 
manner of death that was put to any villain. 
It was then the most villainous death to be 
hanged on the gibbet of the cross; and this 


was done in no secret place, but high upon 
an open mountain, that all the people might 
behold and look upon Him. And He was 
hanged there naked, and between two thieves, 
as though He was a prince and captain of 
misdoers ; and against the feast of Easter, 
when the most number of people did assemble 
unto the temple of the Jews, nigh unto the 
city of Jerusalem, that all the people might 
commodiously resort to gaze upon this cruel 
spectacle. This thing was done also in the open 
day, for from the midst of the day He thus did 
hang alive on the cross by the space of three 
hours and more. And all the strangers as they 
passed close by did wonder upon Him ; the 
soldiers opprobriously rebuked Him, the priests 
with words of derision and mockery assaulted 
Him, the thieves that hung beside Him blas- 
phemed Him ; finally all His enemies rejoiced 
in their victory againstHim. Alas, what crea- 
ture might be more shamefully treated than was 
our Saviour Christ Jesu hanging thus on the 
cross? A truth it is, now the cross is made hon- 
ourable by His death; but then, as I said, it was 
more shameful than any gibbet or gallows, or any 
other instrument of death. And moreover, and 
besides that. He was hanged on the same with 
the utmost despite and villany that could be 


thought of or devised for any creature to be 
put unto. O thou Christian soul, Christ Jesu 
the Son of God took upon Him all this shame 
for thy love, to the intent that if thou wilt 
amend thy life and forsake thy sin and do true 
penance, thou shalt by His shame be delivered 
from all shame. His shame shall hide thy 
sins. He was there naked and spoiled of all 
His clothes to the intent that thou shouldest be 
covered under His mantle from thy shame. 
And therefore by the Prophet Ezechiel He 
saith : Expandi cwiictum ?neum super te^ et 
opetm ignorniniam hiam — " I did spread My 
mantle upon thee, and so covered thee from 
shame." Let every person here think with them- 
selves what deeds they have done worthy of great 
shame, which if they had come to light and been 
openly known, they should have been blotted 
with open infamy here in this life, and without 
the special mercy of God in the day of judge- 
ment they should thereof have an open shame 
before all the world, and finally in hell an ever- 
lasting shame. But from all those shames, by 
the gracious mantle of Christ, many be covered. 
He hath mercifully spread His mantle over 
them, and kept them from those importable 
shames. Of this covering also the Prophet 
David saith : Beati, quorum tecta sunt peccata 


— " Blessed are those whose sins be covered." 
O thou sinful creature, if thou mightest see what 
shame thou hast deserved for thy sin, thou 
shouldest reckon this a singular comfort. But 
thou seest not the abomination of thy sin, and, 
therefore, thou perceivest not what shame thou 
hast deserved. 

Every sinner that lacketh the Hght of faith 
neither considereth the greatness of his sin, nor 
the presence of Almighty God which looketh 
upon the same. He regardeth nothing the 
blessed angels which behold the abominable 
conscience to their great discomfort, nor the 
devils, his mortal enemies, which be full joyous 
of his shameful demeanour. If the sinner 
clearly considered all these things (as they 
be matter in very deed), he would doubtless 
be greatly ashamed of himself and in great 
discomfort. Nevertheless, a penitent soul that 
is sore pressed and wrong with utter shame, Hke 
as were the women of whom I spoke before, I 
mean Susanna and Mary Magdalen and the 
woman that was apprehended in adultery ; I say, 
such a soul being holden in such distress of 
shame, and considering that, by the opprobrious 
and shameful death which our Saviour did 
suffer on the cross, He hath delivered all true 


penitent sinners from the shame which He de- 
served for their sins, and that He thereby took 
all their sins on His own neck, hath great cause 
(as me seemeth) to take a wonderful comfort in 
the most blessed cross. So that here also (as I 
said) is great matter and cause of very comfort 
and of solace incomparable. Wherefore, to 
conclude my tale as touching this second 
writing, if either love, or hope, or joy, or com- 
fort will make us sing, here in this book of the 
Crucifix is great occasion of song. If thou first 
truly lament with Christ, thou shalt after joyfully 
sing with Him, and each of these shall induce 
other ; hatred of sin shall bring into thy heart 
the love of Christ, dread shall bring in hope, 
sorrow shall bring in joy, and shame here taken 
for thy sin shall bring into thy soul perpetual 
comfort. And thus much I have said for the 
second writing. 

The third writing that is written in this 
book I said is vae, that is to say woe : vae be- 
tokeneth in Scripture everlasting damnation. 
And doubtless this woe may such sinners here 
read, that neither will lament nor sing with 
Christ on the cross, as He said unto the Jews : 
Cecinimus vobis et non saliastis^ lafnentavimus 
vobis et non planxistis, that is to say, " We sung 
wnto you, and you sorrowed not." And soon 


after the Gospel telleth that He reproachfully 
spake unto the cities, to which He had shewed 
many great miracles, and they for all that did no 
manner of penance for their sins, to such there 
He terribly threatened, saying : Vae tibi Coro- 
zatn, vae tibi Bethsaida — " Woe shall be to thee, 
Bethsaida." By this we may learn that such 
which will not stir in themselves these affections 
above rehearsed, whereby they may lament or 
else sing with Christ on the cross, they shall 
come to everlasting woe. 

I say who that will not stir in their hearts 
dread, shame, sorrow and hatred of their sins, 
and so truly lament with Jesu, either else 
quicken in their hearts love, hope, rejoicing 
and comfort, and so sing with Jesu, doubtless 
they shall come to the woe of everlasting dam- 
nation, which woe is the third writing that, as 
we said before, is written on the cross. 

Behold, O thou Christian soul, the extreme 
pains that our Saviour suffered on the cross for 
thy sin. And if thou wilt not by such afflic- 
tions, as I now have rehearsed, enforce thyself 
to be made partner of the same pains in this 
life, thou shalt in the life to come endure like 
manner of pains, and that everlastingly, where 
He suffered them on the cross for a time. 

Let us, therefore, deeply consider what 



pains He did endure and suffer on the cross. 
The first, when He was crucified He was spoiled 
and made naked of all His clothes, and so 
violently thrown down upon the hard timber, 
and His hands and feet cruelly digged in with 
nails, as He sayeth in Psalm 21 : Foderunt 
manus meas et pedes tneos — *' They have digged 
My hands and My feet." This He suffered for 
thy sin, O sinful creature, and if thou wilt not 
amend thy life betimes, thou shalt be spoiled 
of all thy clothes, and so cast down into hell 
upon a more painful couch than was the cross. 
The prophet Isaias saith unto such a sinner : 
Subtus te servatur tinea et opera mentum tuum 
vermis * — " The moths that shall tear and gnaw 
thy body shall lie under thee, and the burning 
worms and serpents shall sprawl above thee 
and dig away part of thy body." O think 
what an horrible pain it were for to lie in a bed 
full of snakes, adders and toads, creeping and 
sprawling, and biting and pinching thee on 
every part. 

The second, when our Saviour was reared 
up aloft on the cross, that same hanging there 
was very painful unto Him. O what pain was 

* The Vulgate text is : Subter te sternetur tineaj 
et operimenium tuum erunt vermes, — Isai. xiv, 11. 


it unto that most delicate and tender body of 
His to hang so long in that tormentry ! 

But where He did hang here but for a time, 
if thou amend not thy life, thou shalt hang 
in the gibbet of hell for evermore. For be 
thou well assured that if thou shalt suffer for 
thine own sins in hell, thou shalt suffer a more 
grievous tormentry than He did, and that with- 
out ceasing. For as it is said in the Apoca- 
lypse : Fumus tormeniorum ascendet in secula se- 
ctdorum — "The smoke of the tormentries of that 
place shall ascend by innumerable worlds," that 
is to say without end. The torments which He 
suffered on the cross were the nails, the thorns, 
the ropes, the scourges, the spear ; but the tor- 
ments that thou shalt suffer, shall a thousand- 
fold pass them. Look how far the malice and 
wit of the devils passeth the malice and wit 
of the Jews, so far exceed the engines which 
the devils have conceived and forged for the 
damned souls to be tormented, above them that 
the Jews maliciously devised against our Saviour 

The third, our Saviour endured an extreme 
heat and fervour, when He for the great afflic- 
tion and agony which He did suffer, was con- 
strained for the grievous anguish to sweat water 
and blood. But this heat is nothing: to the 



heat of the burning fire of hell which never 
shall be quenched. Ignis tile non extinguetur ; 
as the Gospel saith, " That fire shall never be 
quenched. The Prophet Isaias sayelh; Quis ex 
vobts poterit habitarc cu?n ardoribus sempiternis ? 
— " Which of you may continually inhabit with 
the heats that never shall cease ?" 

sinful creature, think with thyself the 
largeness of these two words, ever and never. 
Think with thyself how painful it shall be ever 
to be in that burning fire, and never to be 
released of thy pain. If thou shouldest be 
compelled to lie but one night upon a soft 
feather bed, I suppose thou wouldest weary 
thereof? But how weary shalt thou be ever to 
lie stewing and burning without ceasing ? 

The fourth, our Saviour Christ endured also 
cold, not only for His nakedness, but also when 
His natural heat by death left His body. But 
the damned sinner shall endure in hell a more 
excessive cold. Job saith of such, Transibiint 
ab aqiiis nivis ad calorem nimiuvi — " They shall 
be shifted out of the cold snow and brought 
into the outrageous heats," O Jesus, a tender 
hand which in the frost and snow hath been 
made extreme cold and suddenly is brought 
into the heat of the fire, feeleth a greater 
pain; but nothing comparable unto that shift- 


ing Irom that cold into that heat which is 
in hell. 

The fifth, our Saviour on His cross heard 
blasphemous and opprobrious words, and much 
insulting of His enemies against Him, which 
doubtless was very painful unto Him. But the 
damned sinners shall in hell hear nothing else 
but continual outcries, opprobrious insulting, blas- 
phemies of the devils and others that be damned. 

Blasphetnabunt Deu?Jt coeli doloribus — "They 
shall blaspheme the God of heaven for con- 
tinual pain and sorrows." And they shall see 
before their faces continually the most horrible 
and ireful countenance of their immortal 
enemies the devils. 

The sixth, our Saviour wept on the cross 
for the sins of others, as St Paul saith : Cum 
clamort et lacrymis — ** With crying and tears." 
But the damned sinners that would not here 
weep with Christ, such tears as might wash 
their sins, shall weep in hell for their own sins, 
such tears as shall scald their bodies, and yet 
they shall be never the better. Ibi erit fletus 
et stridor dentium — '* There shall be weeping and 
gnashing of teeth," the smoke of the fire shall 
make them weep, and the coldness of the 
snow shall make their teeth gnash and chatter 
in their heads. 



Yea, and that is more marvellous, neither 
the cold shall temper the heat, nor contrari- 
wise, the heat temper the cold, but either 
of them shall increase the violence of the 
other. Even as in the forge of a smith, the 
cold water when it is cast into the fire causeth 
the fire to be much more fierce and violent. 
The seventh, our Saviour on the cross had 
extreme dryness, of which He complained and 
said: Sitio — ** 1 am dry"; and no marvel 
though He were dry, after so much pain and 
travail, after so much bleeding and sweating, 
whereby no moisture almost was left in His 
body. But how unmeasurable dryness shall 
the damned souls endure in the fire of hell ? 
The rich glutton that was buried in hell 
teacheth us what dryness is there, for he would 
have given all this world to have had one drop 
of water or liquor to have refreshed his tongue, 
that was made so dry with the flame of that fire. 

The eighth, our Saviour on the cross had 
much sorrow and heaviness. If He for the 
only remembrance of the pain to come was 
in so great an agony that He sweat water and 
blood, who can express or think what sorrow 
and heaviness He suffered when all the pains 
were present and presently did oppress Him. 
Nevertheless every damned person, by the 


reason of their continual and everlasting pains 
shall have much more sorrow and heaviness, 
for the which it is written in the book of 
Sapience : Fenitenttafn agenUs et pre iristitia 
spiritus gementes — "They verily lamentably re- 
pent themselves, and for extreme heaviness of 
spirit mourn and sorrow," thinking for how brief 
and transitory pleasures they lost the joys 
everlasting and got the pains that ever shall 

The ninth, our Saviour on the cross did 
suffer much infamy and shame, and specially to 
deliver (as I said) all sinners that would amend 
themselves, and forsake their sins, from ever- 
lasting shame ; but such as will not, shall suffer 
their own shame, as they have deserved. The 
true penitent soul shall be satiate with perpetual 
glory, but he that will not repent himself shall 
have perpetual shame and infamy. 

Almighty God sayeth to such by his prophet 
Nahum : Revelabo pudenda iua in facie tua : " I 
will make open all thy shamefuiness and evil 
dealing in thine own face." And the prophet 
Jeremy sayeth : Saiurabitur oppiobriis — " He 
shall be satiate with opprobrious shame." 

The tenth, above all other pains that our 
Saviour did suffer on the cross, was to be deso- 
late of all comfort, yea of His Father, and to be 


as a person forsaken of Almighty God, and 
destitute of all help and succour, for which He 
sore complaineth on His cross, crying unto His 
Father : Deus meus, Deus mens, ut quid derdi- 
quisttmel — " O my God, O my God, why hast 
Thou forsaken Me?" But this forsaking was 
but for a season, for within a short time after, 
He was raised again to immortal glory. But 
the damned sinners, which shall be punished 
for their own sins in hell, shall ever be forsaken, 
and fully be deprived, not only from all joy 
and comfort, but from that most glorious sight 
of the face of Almighty God, wherein standeth 
all blessedness and consummation of all com- 
fort ; and this shall more pinch the damned 
souls, than all the other torments of hell 
besides. For the which St. Chrysostom saith : 
Ego autem multo graviores cruciatus diw, quam 
gehennam^ removeri et adduci ab ilia gloria — " I 
think, saith he, that to be removed and cast out 
from that everlasting glory, is more grievous 
torment than all the other pains of hell." 

Finally, our Saviour on the cross suffered 
the pains of death for our sins, whereby we had 
deserved death ; and therefore He suffered death 
to deliver us from the death of sin. Neverthe- 
less He remained no long time in the bonds 
of death ; but the damned sinner that must pay 


his own debts in hell, shall suffer everlasting 
death, not so that the sinners shall have no life 
nor feeling in them, but they shall be ever as 
though they were in the extreme pains of death, 
and yet they shall have a perfect sense of the 
pains, and never die. The pains shall be to 
them so violent that they shall perish a thou- 
sand times, and desire continually to die, but 
death shall fly away from them. Desidcrabunt 
mori^ et mors fugiet ab eis — "They shall desire 
death, and death shall fly from them." 

O Jesu, in what misery they shall be in, that 
ever shall covet death, and never may fully die. 

The prophet David, speaking of their pain 
sayeth : Mors depascet eos ; which words may 
have three senses, one is that death shall be 
their pastor and herdsman, he shall order them 
and lead them to their pastures. In hell are 
two pastures : the one is full of snow, the other 
full of fire, for which Job sayeth, Ad calorem 
nimiufu transient ab aquts niviuni — " They shall 
walk from the snow into the fire, and again 
from the fire into the snow." This may be one 
sense. Another may be this : they shall be the 
continued meat of death, as ye see in the 
pastures where the sheep feed. They crop the 
grass ever as it riseth and keepeth it low, and so 
the grass is ever in eating, and never full eaten. 


In like manner death shall continually crop 
the damned persons in hell ; and he shall ever 
be gnawing and eating upon them, and yet they 
shall never be fully consumed. 

The third sense may be this : death shall 
be their continual meat, for they shall ever long 
and desire to die, they shall ever above all 
other things covet to have death, and their 
desire shall always be alike fresh and fervent. 
Another comfort and refreshing besides this 
they shall have none. But whatsoever the sense 
of these words be, thou mayest well perceive 
by them, O thou Christian soul, that if thou 
shalt come to that place to pay thy debts of 
thine own sins, it shall be too grievous and too 
importable for thee to sustain; for, as I said, 
behold every manner of pain our Saviour Christ 
suffered on the cross for all our sins, if we 
be not before our death by such affections as 
I did before rehearse made partners of His 
suffering, we shall suffer all the same pains 
in hell perpetually. 

And therefore, it is a truth, we may read in 
the book of the Crucifix great matter of woe, 
which is the third writing that we had to 
speak of. 

Now, thou sinful creature, have often before 
thine eyes this wonderful book, which, as I said, 


is written within and without. In the which 
also thou mayest read three manner of writings, 
that is to say, lamentation, song, and woe. If 
thou wilt begin to lament with Jesu, thou shalt 
thereby come to sing with Him, and thereby 
thou shalt be made so fully partner of His 
passion that the debts of thy sins shall be 
thoroughly paid, and thou shalt escape ever- 
lasting woe. But if thou dost refuse this 
remedy, and follow the desires of this world, 
and of the flesh, be thou well assured that 
then thou shalt pay thine own debts amongst 
the devils in hell with everlasting woe. From 
the which He defend us, that for our love has 
this day suffered on the cross His most pain- 
ful and sorrowful death, our Saviour Christ 
Jesus. Amen. 

Per Johannem Fyssher Episcopum Rofensem. 

The memory of the Crucified crucifies vices. 
(St Greg.) 

Let him who is bitten by the wiles of Satan 
behold Christ hanging on the cross. (St Aug.) 


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